Girl helps police dogs

Published 10:57 pm Friday, May 13, 2016

Selene Parks made 26 medical supply kits for police dogs in Portsmouth and Norfolk.

Selene Parks made 26 medical supply kits for police dogs in Portsmouth and Norfolk.

This week, 10-year-old Selene Parks delivered six bags stocked with emergency medical supplies to her four-legged heroes in Portsmouth.

Each of the Portsmouth Police Department’s six police dogs got a personalized, red bag packed with about $50 worth of donated supplies: Mylar blankets, Ace bandages, multiple rolls of gauze and tape, two cool packs, hydrogen peroxide, trauma wound bandages, a thermometer, Vaseline, shears, syringes, dog shampoo, a small box of dog food and more supplies.

Next week, Norfolk’s 20 police canines will get the same deliveries, said Parks, a member of Junior Girl Scout Troop 5450 in Chuckatuck.

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The project is Selene’s work toward her Bronze Award, the highest challenge available to Junior Scouts, said her mother, Jennifer Parks. To earn the award, the Scout has to spend at least 20 hours planning and carrying out a community service project.

Selene Parks picked her project in the weeks following the Jan. 11 shooting of a Norfolk police dog, Krijger, by a suspect. The flurry of news about that incident, along with the Parks’ neighbor working as a canine police officer in Portsmouth, sparked her daughter’s interest, Jennifer Parks said.

“We knew about all the risks the dogs take to protect us from watching the news,” said Selene Parks. “I thought we should protect them … in case the dogs get injured and they aren’t close to a vet.

“This way, officers can help their dogs until medical help arrives.”

Selene’s deliveries to the police dogs came just a week after the arrival of their new custom-made bulletproof vests, courtesy of a donation from television journalist Anderson Cooper and former Navy SEAL Jim Hatch, head of the nonprofit organization, Spike’s K9 Fund.

Most of the donations were made to Parks’ Amazon wish list, Jennifer Parks said. Similar to a wedding registry, it gave shoppers a running tally of items that she needed to complete her project. It also allowed benefactors to order items and have them shipped directly to Parks’ house.

She received more than 10 boxes a week for several weeks, with donations coming from as far as Texas and Georgia, said Jennifer Parks.

Selene made fliers and put them on community bulletin boards in local coffee shops, pharmacies and the dentist office. Between the fliers, a local news clip and her parents sharing it on Facebook, donations began coming in, she said.

Selene has earned her Bronze Award and a good life lesson.

“I learned that I did something amazing that will help these dogs do their jobs,” she said. “I also learned that sometimes, you just have be patient.”

Selene’s neighbor, Portsmouth Police Officer Brian Ingram, a K-9 officer, applauded her work.

“I was overwhelmed and pleased that she wanted to take the time and give us stuff we can use,” said Ingram. “It’s reassuring knowing we have those kits on hand.

“It’s also reassuring to see someone so young, with her drive and passion to help. We are grateful to Selene.”