Man credits officer for saving dog’s life

Cpl. Aaron Lawhon pictured with 9-month-old puppy Buddy, who he is credited with saving after...
Cpl. Aaron Lawhon pictured with 9-month-old puppy Buddy, who he is credited with saving after Buddy was accidentally shot in the leg Saturday.(Shannon Litton/WSAZ)
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 1:16 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A 9-month-old puppy is recovering after accidentally being shot in the leg by its owner.

It happened Saturday afternoon in the 2100 block of 10th Avenue.

“Everybody has a soft spot for animals in general, and then being a K9 handler, it’s a little different for us,” said Cpl. Aaron Lawhon with the Huntington Police Department.

He was one of the officers who answered the call Saturday afternoon.

Andrew Slayton says there was a shotgun laying on the bed when he picked it up and tried to disarm it.

“It just goes off,” Slayton said. “Pow! And that was the worst day of my life. It was horrible.”

His German Shepherd, Buddy, took a shot to his front left leg.

For someone like Cpl. Lawhon, it’s hard not to take it personal.

“All you see is your dog laying there,” Cpl. Lawhon said.

Cpl. Lawhon has worked with Finn, a K9 officer, for almost two years.

“He goes home with me, he’s in this car with me 12 hours a day,” Cpl. Lawhon said. “I spend more time with him than I do my family.”

As a handler, Cpl. Lawhon carries medical kits designed for K9s, so when he got to the scene, he knew what to do.

“I got the tourniquet and wrapped it around [Buddy’s] upper arm to stop the bleeding.”

He says with humans, usually you already have EMS on the way ready to help but with animals, you don’t have that luxury.

“We have animal ERs, but until we get them there, it’s all on us or all on the owner,” Cpl. Lawhon told WSAZ. “In that sense, I knew it was on us until we got [Buddy] to the ER.”

“Officer Lawhon showed up and he saved the day,” Slayton said. “He scooped [Buddy] up and took him right on to the hospital. Saved his life.”

Buddy, Slayton’s dog, underwent surgery and lost his leg.

Buddy is back home now, and the doctor who did the surgery says since Buddy is so young, he will have some adapting to do, but will still do well in life.

“I’m so happy he’s alive, man,” Slayton told WSAZ. “Because he’s everything to me. I raised him since he was a little baby.”

“Anybody that was equipped with the things I was would’ve done the same thing I did,” Cpl. Lawhon said. “I just happened to be there when they needed help, and we helped them.”

Huntington Police say because this was such a freak accident, Slayton was just issued a warning for letting off a firearm in city limits.

Slayton tells us Buddy’s stitches will come out in a couple of weeks.

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