Harsh Reality

Over the last few days we’ve had a few members of our “Spike’s Pack” move on to new realities. One of the K9’s helped by our supporters, passed away suddenly a few days ago. One military K9 was switched to a new handler. These are extremely difficult times for the humans involved. The K9’s become part of our families and in the case of the LEO or Military K9’s when they move along, that human loses a soul that most likely saved their life on one or multiple occasions.

This kind of loss is especially difficult and one that I am familiar with. The connections we make with dogs are woven into our characters and when they go, for whatever reason, they leave an empty space that cannot be filled by anything but time.

For my friends in this Dog world, I can only say that I feel like those of us who get the opportunity to share our lives with those amazing souls; souls wrapped in fur and beauty, are quite fortunate. Those relationships are special and that is why the loss is so very painful.

My advice; let the sting of loss sit in your heart and know how lucky you are to have made that type of connection with a Dog. Your life is better because of that connection and you are a better human because of it.

Some say we don’t deserve Dogs.

Some might be right.

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle” -St. Francis of Assisi


Connections

Tracy & Kathie

A couple of years before I started Spike’s K9 Fund, I was headed out to Arizona to do some contract work for the military. I was still struggling to move well, and I had a considerable amount of equipment with me. I flew into Tucson International, grabbed a cart for all of my bags, and had Mina, my service Dog, on a leash with me. We made our way to the rental car counter, and the woman who helped us told me to “wait right here,” and as Mina and I stood there, she went out to the parking lot and grabbed our rental vehicle for us. When she exited the vehicle, she immediately went to the back and started lifting heavy luggage and putting it in the car. I was amazed at the courtesy this woman showed us, and I noted her name so I could write an email to the rental car company. It turns out, one “Kathie Morley” was the manager of that particular branch, and she tracked me down based on my email address and thanked me for the kind words I shared about her and her office. We became quick friends and stayed in touch. We even went skydiving together. After Spike’s K9 Fund started, Kathie became one of our biggest supporters, also showing up at an event in Ohio! Kathie is the lovely woman on your right in the above photo.


In 2014 when I first started Spike’s K9 Fund, a woman named Tracy Reardon from Austin Texas reached out and said she was a maker of “bullet jewelry” and mentioned that she’d like to donate some to our cause! I was shocked that a person in Texas had heard about us and wanted to support us, especially a talented jewelry artist! It turns out, that artist has been with us and donating her beautiful work every time we have a significant event. She has helped us raise quite a bit of $ over the years, and last year we were able to meet her at our “Spike’s Soiree” here in Virginia Beach. It was amazing. Tracy is on your left as you look at the above photo.
These two women became friends on Facebook at some point, and recently, Kathie went to Austin, Texas, where she and Tracy connected in person and took this photo.

One of the things I’ve learned in my time here on the blue dot is that good relationships are one of the most valuable things one can possess, and seeing this relationship from afar, a bond forged through the support of our cause, makes me quite happy.


Thank you Tracy and Kathie, for sharing this great photo and helping to show us how working towards a good cause can create lasting and valuable relationships. 🙏🏼


My view

Hello Spike’s supporters. This is a difficult and complex time in our nation. The death of Mr. Floyd was a horrendous crime and it should have never happened and it should never happen again.

Our collective national emotions are running high, for very good reasons.

As you all know, we support working K9’s and many of those K9’s work with our law enforcement teams. We like to advertise that we have helped K9’s in 46 of the 50 states, and for that, we are proud.

I want to share my personal view of the law enforcement teams I know, and I know more than a few. We have an active Police Officer who works part-time for Spike’s. We hear feedback from Officers from all over when they thank us for the help our supporters have given their K9’s, or when come to one of my speeches.
The cops I know are not criminals. They are not racists. They are not fascists. I know that most law enforcement officers are the kind of people that would listen to you yell “Fuck the Police” in their faces and then help you when you needed it despite their personal feelings. They are professionals, and they care about their communities.

As a 53-year-old white guy, I cannot comprehend racism in the same way as a person who has suffered it, especially when it is systemic. I abhore the idea that there are people who do not believe “all men are created equal” and I hope these convulsions we are presently experiencing, create the environment to correct those wrongs.


What I can understand, and this is from experience, is that there are bad, violent people who wait for the opportunity to rob or hurt innocent people, and the Police are the ones standing between them and you

The Police that we support signed up to do that difficult work because they wanted to help people.

If any of you law enforcement professionals need help with your Dog, we are here. If you need help working through a tough time, I am available. I have a graduate degree in being a psych patient and if nothing else, I can tell you stories about the poor choices I made, and they will surely help you to laugh.

Spike’s K9 Fund is proud to support our professional law enforcement units.
We are grateful for their willingness to “stand in the breach” for us.

Godspeed.


Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day is a special day and I am grateful for the way it helps us focus on those who died to enable us to enjoy the lives we live.

These are the K9’s that I served with who were killed while fighting on behalf of the United States of America.

We honor the humans and dogs that died for our freedom.


Summer Intern “Monika”

When I started at college as a 52 year old last fall, I was scared to death. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the 18-year-olds with me. One of them stood out immediately to me. Her name is Monika (pronounced MoNIKa) and she is pretty keen on her name being pronounced correctly! Monika was very helpful to me personally, she helped with notes and when it came time for finals she organized and led a group study for one of our classes. In short, using my vernacular, Monika is an “asset.”

Because we have some generous donors, we are in a position to hire a Summer Intern and I asked Monika if she would be interested. She has already helped out with some non-profit organizations in New Haven and I know her work ethic in unquestionable, so when she responded that she’d like to be a part of our crew, I was quite happy.

One of the things I love most about Monika is that her story is an American story. I am a very patriotic guy and when I hear stories like hers, it makes me feel good about our nation. Her Father hails from Kosovo and her Mother from Poland. They both immigrated to the US and work pretty hard in their community of Brooklyn, NY. She has two siblings, one just graduating college and another in high school. Monika is very soft spoken and chooses her words very careful. Something I admire. She also does not, and I’m very serious here, suffer fools.

For that reason, she will be working most closely with Emily, Annemarie, and Paige!

I want to thank Monika and her family for showing us the American dream and contributing to our nation, and for Monika, especially, for being a great example to me and for being part of our “pack” this Summer.

Yale 2023!


Dynamic Dave~

This week I am keen to point out the “grey man.” The guy who does so much work behind the scenes, that it is difficult to translate to you how much he does.

Dave (in the middle) after jumping for his birthday

Dave Villaflor has been a volunteer since the beginning of Spike’s K9 Fund and has since become a part-time paid employee. It is unfair to call his contribution “part-time” because he is responsible for much. He helped set up and run our online store. He helps with the web-page. He keeps track of all of the items in our store. He ensures that the shipping is taken care of, and he addresses any problems that our supporters might have with things they’ve ordered from us.

Additionally, he has to navigate my insanity! In short, Dave just flat gets sh*t done, and never asks for any accolades. He is one of the big reasons we are as successful as we’ve been.

Thanks Dave. I am very grateful for you and your commitment to Spike’s K9 Fund.


Tough People (and Dogs) for tough times.

This pandemic is an opportunity to see how the people around you react to stress. I’m around some pretty amazing folks and one of them is our “Communications Asset” who also works full time as a K9 Officer.

Her name is Annemarie. She is dedicated to her family, her Dogs, her work as a Police Officer and, fortunately for us, her work with Spike’s K9 Fund.

I admire her and those like her, who make a very significant commitment to our community.

Annemarie and her partner, K9 Argo

The times are tough for many people. Crime has increased. People need help. Annemarie and those who wear the badge, step up for all of us and I want her and them, to know that we appreciate their dedication and work on our behalf.

As you go to sleep tonight, say a little prayer (or if you don’t pray, send kind thoughts) for those out there who are working to keep our communities and thus, all of us, safe.


Thankful for the Dogs

I’m home enjoying the time I have to do my schoolwork and play with my dogs. Mina, my faithful companion at school is still by my side as are her sisters, Lola and Pearl. Here are some photos-

Lola
Pearl
Mina

I’m a dog person and I know most of you who support us are as well. It is pretty amazing to see how many people are out walking their dogs in the morning and I am guessing that they (your dogs) are helping you like mine are helping me while we live this different type of lifestyle.

There are many difficulties right now, so I will keep this short; I merely want to say hello, we are here continuing our mission supporting the K9’s and their human handlers and communities through this challenging period. We know that the K9’s we support are part of the group who don’t have a “stay at home” requirement. They are out there doing tough things and for that, we are grateful.

Please check out our fundraising workout that is coming up and please ensure you are taking good care of yourselves and your people. We need to take care of each other ALL of the time, but during difficult times like this, it is especially important.

If you see a first-responder out doing their business, give them a wave and let them know you are grateful. If they have a K9, please let them know about Spike’s K9 Fund.

Be well-


Potent Paige

Today is the 2 year anniversary of Paige Widener working at Spike’s K9 fund. Paige is a very potent young lady. She handles our social media strategy and helps us communicate our accomplishments and needs and capabilities as an organization, to our supporters and potential recipients. She also helps us spend our advertising $ more efficiently. Her work has helped us save a significant amount of capitol while simultaneously driving better online store sales and community engagement. I don’t want to praise her too much, because I want to keep her with us! Paige, thank you so very much for blessing us with your poise, smarts, and significant work ethic. Happy Spike’s anniversary! 🙏🏼