OCONEE COUNTY, Ga. -- A lucky police dog is alive and well after his quick thinking partner used Benadryl to save his life.
Sgt. Shane Partain of the Oconee County Sheriff's Office was cleaning 6-year-old Orion's pen on Monday evening when he noticed his K-9 partner limping.
Soon after, Orion's throat began to swell.
"I'm thinking he's dying," said Partain. "Really and truly in reality he was at that time. It was killing me."
The deputy believes Orion was bitten by a copperhead. A neighbor found one in his yard nearby.
As Orion's throat continued to swell shut, Sgt. Partain remembered the first aid kit in the back of his car, and the Benadryl.
"I forced his jaws open, then had to forcefully push the pills down his throat," said Partain.
He rushed Orion to veterinarian Monica Kutecher, who administered an IV of steroids. Dr. Kutecher says it was the Benadryl that eased the swelling, and allowed Orion to breath.
"He might not have made it here, he was that bad," said Dr. Kutecher. "He would have died. He would have suffocated."
The vet says she advises dog owners to always have Benadryl handy.
Georgia poison control says Benadryl doesn't have the same effect on humans, who should go straight to the emergency room after a venomous bite.
Sgt. Partain's lost his first K9 partner to a nerve disorder exactly three years ago. He says losing Orion would have been devastating.
"This dog is my partner," said Partain. "He is as valuable and just as precious to me as another human being. I would follow him anywhere."
Orion is still around thanks to medicine, quick thinking, and the love of his partner.