By: Melina Matthes
OMAHA (kptm) - Some hard working animals need a little extra attention during a heat wave.
When temperatures reach 100, even the Omaha police department's horses need and get a break.
A large majority of Omaha police officers spend their shifts working outside on a hot summer day. Many of them cool off by drinking a bottle of water, but Sgt. Tammy Mitchell with the mounted patrol says it's not as easy for their department.
They have horses that depend on them. "On a real hot day like today, we'll wash them three or four times a day."
Sgt. Mitchell says the horses in the mounted patrol barn love bath time. "Just like us…we want to cool down, we go swimming, we get out and we're refreshed. Same thing with the horses, we take water…cool or luke warm water...we don't want it too warm or too cold and let it just sit on their coats and then as it dries it just naturally cool them just like it does us."
Besides getting hosed down. The police horses are given electrolyte powder. "It's like pink kool-aid"
It's mixed in with their water to prevent dehydration. "The electrolytes is kind of like a Gatorade to them, it gives them an extra boost to allow their metabolism to hold that water."
And each horse gets plenty to drink...two five-gallon buckets that are refilled several times a day. "You can't make a horse...as the saying goes...you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink...it's true. But they're going to need a drink and so you need to make sure they have fresh water."
Each stall has a fan to provide the horses with more cool air. They've also turned off the overhead lights to prevent any additional heat build up and some horses, like gunny, are so trustworthy, they leave his door open.
"We're assigned generally to one horse that way you get to know each others weaknesses and strengths and the good thing about that is you get to know your horse and you know whether they are feeling well or not...like your dog you can tell whether your dog is feeling well or your kid or not and you can utilize them or not utilize them."
Sgt. Mitchell says taking care of these horses can be hard and keeping them at their best can be costly but she says they're always accepting donations.
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