Spike’s Spirit

It’s been almost 5 years since Spike’s K9 Fund was founded.

It was founded when I saw a need and decided to follow Spike’s example. Spike was an incredibly smart dog. He was driven and he was a problem-solver.

Spike’s drive carried him through the difficulties of life. When things became hard, Spike showed his true nature. He was never satisfied. He always sought to be the most effective dog he could be.

I want the organization who bears his name to share his qualities.

Today we are about 90 days from the end of the year. We have an organizational goal to have helped 1000 K9’s by the end of the year. Presently we are at 910 K9’s helped. So essentially, we need to help 90 K9’s in 90 Days.

Spike was small. He weighed about 62 lbs. He packed a lot of punch with his 62 lbs. His presence on the battlefield was felt by many, despite his size. Spike’s K9 Fund is small. We have a small core team of employees and volunteers and we get things done. We rely heavily on the “Spike’s Pack” of supporters who always find a way to help us get to our goals.

That is the theme for this weeks post.

We NEED your help in reaching our goal this year.

We need to get the word out to the small law enforcement agencies in the rural parts of the country who may not have heard about us. We need you to share our mission. We have a large social media presence but we need to have those of you who follow us help us spread the word even more.

Because of the culture of criticism and condemnation, most police departments don’t even read emails or answer cold calls coming from organizations offering assistance. They are too jaded about things to trust that there is an organization like ours who asks only for a few photos of the dogs we help but donates protective equipment and medical care cost assistance to K9’s nationwide.

We need you, the Spike’s Pack, to reach out when you see an opportunity.

In order for us to stay at our fighting weight of 62 lbs, we need a big support crew to help us focus our work.

Please consider sharing this blogpost or our website or mentioning us to your local PD.

Please reach out to us if you want or need any help with materials to promote our efforts, or if you want to hold an informational or fundraising event.

Spike was a force multiplier. He made an impact.

By his example, so do we.


Medical assist GuideStar​

Back in the early 2000’s I was allowed to go on a “buy” trip to the Netherlands with the fellows who had been chosen to pick K9’s for our unit. It was an amazing trip for many reasons, but for me it was memorable mostly because I met Combat Dog Diesel. At the time Diesel’s name was “Harry” which I thought was fine, but regardless….

The people in charge of testing the Dogs had a series of tests that they put our candidates through. One of the tests was designed to see if the Dog was confident on his own, without his handler. Harry, AKA Diesel was taken out into the woods and secured by a fairly short line to a sturdy tree.

After Diesel was secured, the handler walked back the 700 meters to where the rest of us were observing. We waited for about 20 minutes and we watched Diesel. Diesel seemed pretty damn content sitting in the woods smelling the smells and relaxing. Then it was time for the second part of the test. One of the observers was a trained “helper” or decoy and he had a long sleeve hoodie on and underneath one of the sleeves he had a thin bite-sleeve hidden. He walked towards Diesel and acted pretty shady. He didn’t walk a straight line to Diesel, he walked in a weaving pattern and acted sketchily, sometimes looking at Diesel and sometimes hiding his face.

Diesel just sat there on his haunches and watched this chuckle-head get closer. This was the key part. How would Diesel react when this sketchy looking human came towards him aggressively?

Well, the human started picking up speed and acting combative as he worked his way to within striking distance of Diesel. Diesel didn’t bat an eye, he waited and waited and when he knew the human was close enough, he launched at the “bad guy” nearly ripping the tree out of the ground and locked on to the sleeve. Diesel was not afraid. Not ever. Not for one second. Needless to say, Diesel came home with us.

Diesel ended up doing 8 combat deployments. on his 6th deployment Diesel was shot through the chest and damn nearly died. He was sent home to rehab and then, a year later, he deployed again.

Diesel was a serious badass and he served this nation well. When it was time for him to retire, he was adopted by one of my teammates. He and his wife took Diesel on knowing that he would have some medical issues but they weren’t sure how much those would cost.

Turns out they were pretty expensive. When the Military retires a k9, the family who adopt that Dog is responsible for all of its care. Most military or law enforcement families don’t have a big enough chunk of discretionary income to drop 5-$10,000.00 on veterinary bills.

That’s where we step in. Diesel needed some medical care and we were fortunate to have generous donors known as the “Spike’s Pack” who stepped up and help us take care of him.

Diesel lived his few retirement years like he deserved. With comfort and love.

All of the k9’s who work to serve our communities or our nation, deserve to be well cared for. It is why we have it as one of our campaigns. Recently we helped a former USMC K9, who did deployments overseas on behalf of our nation and then came home and worked for a Police Department.

His medical bills were over $10k. He deserved the care. Our Spike’s Pack supporters have given us the ability to make sure the Dogs are cared for.

This is done in the name of Combat Dog Diesel.

We need your help to make sure we can cover these k9’s whether they are active or retired. We ask them to use their bodies to help protect us. It is our duty to give them the best life we can give them.

Combat Dog Diesel Campaign. Check it out. Help us help them.


Yale commences!

This is a pic taken with some of the smart people I run into every day here at Yale University. Mina has been widely accepted here. Probably more so than the old guy with all the tattoos! 😂

Spike’s K9 Fund needs to grow and to do so, I need to grow. In my few short weeks here I have been treated extremely well and the course work is significant. At every turn there is someone, a faculty member, other students, friends here at Yale, who offers their help. Never in my life have I had so many people in the ring with me swinging away. It is amazing.

As the semester progresses I will get my feet under me and be able to reach out to the people up here in the Yale community to share our mission. While I’m doing that, I would ask a small favor, please, if you are a member of the #spikespack, post on social media and share a link to our website so that more people hear about us and spread the word.

We need to help more Dogs. Our goal for this year was to help 1000 K9’s. We are at about 910 right now. We need to help a bunch more!

Lastly,

GO BULLDOGS!


Spike’s goes to Tennessee!

Last Thursday we had a really great event at a vineyard in Arrington TN.

We had some locals come out and support us. We also had volunteers and staff travel to the event from Arizona, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Connecticut.

We also had Police Officers from Ohio come and do K9 Demonstrations as part of the event. In all we raised over $38,000.00 for the working dogs.

It is amazing for me to see the sacrifices people make for our mission. Because the event was on a Thursday, people had to take time off of work or school and drive 10+ hours to get there. The folks who came out from the local area were exceptionally generous and in all I was blown away by the enthusiasm of everyone involved.

I’m glad that our mission can bring folks together to work for a great cause: taking care of the Dogs that take care of our communities and nation.

Thank you to everyone who played a part in the event and thank you to the rest of the “Spike’s Pack” who support us from far and wide.

We are starting the planning process for the 2020 “Spike’s Soiree” now and I’m very excited for it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I wish you and yours a happy and healthy week ahead.


K9 Rooster #1

In 2014 I was given the opportunity to work as a volunteer with the police department near my home. There was a K9 named “Rooster” and he needed some assistance because of a medical issue.

The municipality for which he worked did not seem to share his handlers opinion about the medical procedure the canine needed.

Rooster had served his community well and in my opinion, deserved every opportunity to have the best healthcare possible.

In all honesty, I was dealing with the tragedies I had been a part of with Dogs in various combat zones. I needed to do something to assuage the rough feelings that accompanied those experiences.

So I tried to figure out a way that I could help Rooster. I took a picture of myself and Spike, my first working dog to a friend who was adept at Photoshop. With him I created a logo, the same logo that we use today. I had a bunch of sweatshirts printed up with the logo on it and I advertised them on social media and told people the money I raised from the sweatshirt sales would be used to help Rooster.

Well it turns out I was onto something. I sold quite a few sweat-shirts and made enough money to pay for rooster to have a surgery and for his handler to cover the costs involved with their travel.

Sadly, Rooster recently passed away.  

Rooster was the very first dog helped by Spikes Canine Fund.

Fast forward five years. We have helped over 900 dogs in 44 states. I am grateful to Rooster and his handler and to those who supported our initial attempts to help a canine.

I am grateful to have found this mission where we see a need, the need to take the best care of these dogs who serve the human community. I am also grateful that we have supporters, the Spike’s Pack, that will help us in our attempt to meet that need.

So this blog post is my electronic memorial to K9 Rooster.

Thank you Rooster.  Thank you for serving the human community and thank you for helping me get started on this mission that has helped so many of your canine sisters and brothers.

In honor of Rooster, we are now going to be known as a “non-profit Impact Organization.”

He made an impact.  

The “Spike’s Pack,” meaning the tiny staff and board and core crew of volunteers, backed by our incredible supporters from all over the country, have and will continue to make an impact.  

Just like Rooster and his canine crew. Impact.


500 Custom Fit Ballistic Vests

On Friday morning, we will drive to Prince Georges County, Virginia and meet the folks from K9 Storm to fit K9 Valor for the 500th ballistic vest provided by our pack. That’s what we call you, our supporters, we call you the “Spike’s Pack” or #spikespack on social media.

Because of your support and the hard work of the Spike’s K9 Fund crew and Board, we’ve changed the face of providing the protection that these K9’s deserve as they serve our human communities.

Many Police Departments do not have the funds to purchase proper ballistic protection for the K9’s that protect the officers and members of the communities that they serve.

We call our ballistic vest campaign the “K9 Krijger ballistic vest campaign.”

K9 Krijger was killed by a violent suspect who shot Krijger twice at close range.

Every single ballistic vest we provide is embroidered with K9 Krijger’s service #. K-148.

K9 Krijger & his human.

Thank you all so very much for helping to make K9 Krijger live on as he gives protection to his K9 sisters and brothers, who like him, go out in harms way to protect the human community.

It is our duty and obligation to care for these magnificent K9’s that we ask so much of.

Have a great week.


Old school

It’s sometimes good for me to remember how this whole thing got started.

Iraq 2006


That photo shows me and Spike and one of our “pack” coming home in a helicopter as the sun rises in Iraq in 2006. It is the year and the deployment where Spike was killed.

Spike was a pretty amazing Dog and he had an inordinate amount of drive and patience. He carried me through the deployments I did with him.

I see K9’s like him almost every day. Out with their pack doing their jobs and I want to make sure that they are set up for success.

Our supporters, my new “pack,” make that possible.

So on this Monday, I want to say a simple “Thank you” to everyone who supports our mission and then by proxy have joined our pack to take care of the Dogs who care for our community.

Have a great week.

#spikespack


K9 Max Memorial Agility Course

On Saturday, we were fortunate to participate with the great Americans in Indiana and Ohio to build an agility course for the local K9’s to train on.

The course was built in Brookville, Indiana which is in Franklin County. It’s the County that K9 Max served. The whole course was put together for assembly by the great Americans at the IKORCC and this is the 3rd one they’ve helped us with.

There was a skydiving entrance with our national colors by Team Fastrax. Young Americans from the Franklin County Wildcats High School Ladies Volleyball team and the Victory Project showed up to do the hard work.The event was also attended by multiple Law Enforcement K9 teams and their families from surrounding municipalities. They did some great K9 Demos so the public could get a glimpse of what we ask of these amazing Dogs.

In a time when there is so much negativity and conflict, this event showed who we really are. We are Americans and we take care of each other.

We only have a few Saturdays on our calendars, and when people volunteer one of their’s to help their community and the K9’s who serve it, you know you are in a good place.

I’m grateful to everyone who supported us. Those who came out to work and those who’ve donated to make this effort a success.


Summer

It seems that Summer is a “slow” time for most non-profits. Not for us. We need to hustle all year. Our mission to protect every K9 who works on behalf of a community or our nation needs constant hustle.

One of our biggest challenges in helping the K9’s is getting through to their human handlers and to the communities that they serve.

We need to educate.

What do I mean? Well, in this time in our country when all law enforcement are being scrutinized so severely and when the press surrounding law enforcement work is generally negative, Police Departments are suspicious of “do-gooders” like us. It is also worth mentioning that there are other groups out there who are in our same line of work and they often “force” themselves on departments from the top down and that creates an unpleasant situation for the end users.

So having written all of this, I am asking for your help. If you are a supporter, please use your network to pass the word about what we do. Please talk to your local law enforcement folks and let them know we are here to help their K9’s.

It is worth mentioning that we provide ballistic and non-ballistic vests, health care cost assistance, heat alarms for law enforcement vehicles, GPS tracking devices for Search and Rescue K9’s and a few other things here and there.

So consider this blog post as a request. A request to help us spread the word about our mission and how all we ask in return is for the folks whose K9’s we help to provide us with a couple of photos and a bit of fundraising help.

We have helped close to 900 K9’s and our goal is to be at 1000 by the end of the year.

Help us help them.


Supporters in the Sky

Last weekend we were able to execute a small mission with some of our supporters. We occasionally auction off a skydive experience at our events.

Its so cool to introduce people to the skydiving experience and it’s even cooler to be with them in the sky while they do it.

Check out the video!

We look forward to future opportunities to share life with the people who generously share their valuable resources in support of our mission to care for all working K9’s in the USA.