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New K9 Team Joins Lakeland
Jan 29, 2020 Share

Spectrum Health Lakeland has added a second K9 team to the organization. The new team is handler Chris Aungst and Hiro (pronounced Hero), a two-year-old male German shepherd, originally from Slovakia. Chris, retired from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, brings nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience to the team.

“I have always had a passion for dogs, so I was fortunate when an opportunity came up to combine that passion with my experience,” said Chris.

Following the selection of Hiro, the K9 team completed a rigorous three-week training in Indiana during the month of January, which included bonding and obedience sessions. During the training, handlers were even asked to lie down in the mud during a rainstorm with their K9s, as a form of bonding.

As the K9 team continues their training at Lakeland and Hiro adjusts to new surroundings over the coming months, please do not pet or touch him, and please remember to always ask for permission before approaching him.

“I think his name is very appropriate,” said Chris. “Hiro will help put people at ease and keep them safe. He has amazing capability and training to contribute to the Lakeland community.”

In recent years, hospital security departments have involved K9 teams as a cost-effective resource to help diffuse tense situations, detect weapons, and deescalate potentially violent situations.

In 2018, the first K9 team was established at Lakeland, with Officer Bruce Modigell and K9 Inez, a female German shepherd.

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