|RPCM™ ChillyDog Cool Vests donated to K-9′s
Vest-wearing dogs escape heat’s biteMilitary gear offers cool reliefBY R. NORMAN MOODY
Military dogs now have something in common with their two-legged counterparts, firefighters and NASCAR drivers.
Cool-suit technology helps all of them in often-stifling work places.
While simpler than the ice-water recirculating models favored by emergency crews and race drivers, the canine versions make a difference, officials say.
And dog handlers at Patrick Air Force Base didn’t have to look far for something to keep their dogs happy — either in the bright sun and thick humidity of Brevard County, or in furnace-like climates overseas. Glacier Tek Inc. of West Melbourne has been in that business for years.
“They manufacture cool vests for people, so we asked them to consider doing them for dogs,” said Sheri Wells, vice president of the Space Coast War Dog Association, a countywide organization.
The company already had the ability and materials to make the dog vests, but only started when the War Dog Association asked.
“We had some patterns laying around, but we hadn’t concentrated on it,” said Ray Booska, vice president of Glacier Tek. “I have a retired police dog at home, so I used him as a model.”
Handlers at Patrick Air Force Base now have two of the vests for their dogs, and eight were sent to Afghanistan for use with Army explosives-detection teams.
Aptly named ChillyDog, the vest straps to a dog’s chest and can work for two to three hours before needing a “recharge” in ice water, freezer or refrigerator.
Its active ingredient is a mixture of animal fat and oils and does not have toxic chemicals that could poison a dog if the vest were punctured, Booska said. The vests sell for $130, but the military’s were mostly donated.
The cooling vests are used almost daily at Patrick Air Force Base said kennel master Tech Sgt. Jerome Blackwell.
“They work really well,” Blackwell said. “It cools them down. It keeps them from heat stress.”
Contact Moody at 242-3651 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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