Program designed to support our four-legged officers

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - Working canines are now allowed to be transported by paramedics in an ambulance, and the legislation encouraged one University of Illinois student to come up with an idea. 

Inspired by faculty members, Paul Fedyniak came up with the idea for 'MEDIK9USA.'

"We were trying to think of a way to donate oxygen masks," Fedyniak says. "Then I decided why just stop with the oxygen, and so I created the kit to help canine dogs when they are in an ambulance."

Fedyniak created two different variations of the kit - one for police officers, and another for EMS. The EMS kit contains toys, hair clippers, oxygen masks and muzzles. For the K9 police units, the kit includes, bandages, clotting supplies and even a thermometer.

He found his inspiration in man's best friend. 

"I've always had a big appreciation for working dogs, specifically the police and military canines," Fedyniak says. "That kind of sparked me to get my German Shepherd. I have a love for the bread and the dog. These canine handlers are very attached to their dogs, just like I'm attached."   

Fedyniak is a fourth-year veterinary student, which made finding free time to assemble the kits a little "ruff".

"There were definitely some hours there where I thought I bit off more than I could chew, but I'm glad it all worked out," he said.

Fedyniak donated five EMS kits to Arrow Ambulance. Operations Manager of Arrow Ambulance, Jimmy Zindars, said the donation was a complete surprise. 

"We didn't expect it at all. It was an awesome gesture on Paul's part to raise the funds and come up with the kits for EMS and police officers," Zindars says.

"This is not something we do everyday. This is going to be a rarity to be treating a police officers dog, but at least now we have a few more pieces of equipment."

According to Fedyniak, after he graduates, he hopes to make MEDIK9USA into a non-profit organization. Fedyniak raises the money make the kits by selling original watercolor paintings of pets. They can be found on his Facebook page. He also has a GoFundMe page.