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.


Anniversary

On July 9th 2009 a group of us went out on a mission to try to rescue an American who had, through his own choices, become a hostage to our enemies in Afghanistan.

The end result was a K9 with us named “Remco” and pictured here:

was killed after finding a couple of enemy soldiers hiding in a ditch.

He saved my and a few others lives.

So the best way to remember him a decade later is to give him credit and protect Dogs like him who protect humans with their lives.

So we’ve started a fundraiser “Remember Remco,” trying to raise $25000.00 to purchase 10 custom protective vests for K9’s who serve their community or nation.

Here is a link.

We need your help to meet this goal. Remco was a fearless member of our team and he perished saving his teammates lives.

10 years. It seems like just a few days ago. I remember watching him move in front of us. He was powerful and moved smoothly through that flat field on his way to death.

It may have been 10 years ago, but those images are forever etched on my memory. I will never forget seeing the muzzle flash from the AK-47 and watching Remco’s body jerk back from the force of the bullets hitting him. I remember screaming his name after I’d been shot and rendered worse than useless.

I remember his handler carrying his now limp body onto the medevac helicopter.

Remco was “just a Dog.” Just a teammate. Just a life saving force. Just a soul.

Help us remember him properly.

How about we “thank him for his service” with something more tangible than comments.

Donate please.


International

Last week I didn’t post a Monday blog. I was on my way to Warsaw, Poland to take part in a Special Operations K9 Conference. It was a great experience and I made a short little video about it that you can watch here.

I learned much at the conference, but mostly I learned that we have friends, including K9’s, in other countries that are fighting the enemies of decency on a regular basis.

I learned that the K9’s support their teams and save lives, just like they do for us.

It was an exceptional opportunity and a confirmation that all over the world, K9’s are used to help humans solve humans problems.

It reinforced my belief that we need to take care of these amazing Dogs.

They do so much for us.

Thank you to our supporters. Your kindness and generosity make it possible for us to support the working K9’s. I was proud to explain to our international friends, what our mission is and how much we’ve accomplished.

I hope you have a great week and rest assured, we will be working hard to care for the K9’s who support us and our communities.


Essential Packmembers

Hello “Spike’s pack”

This Monday brings a few new items. We have some very good events coming up. Please check our FaceBook Page.

We are also almost to the halfway point in 2019. Our goal for 2019 was to have helped over 1000 K9’s. We are getting there, but we need your help. This is where the whole “Spike’s Pack” thing comes into play.

Today we have helped a total of 859 K9’s in 44 States.

How can you help?

1- Share our story, share it far and wide. We have helped K9’s in all but 6 states and we’ve been able to do that mostly because of people taking to each other about what we can do or have done for working K9’s.

2- Share our content on your social media sources

3- If you are a LEO, pass the word to others in your community as to what we provide.

4- Donate. It’s how we do business and our success is because of generous people who can make donations. Small or big, it all helps.

5- Be a good American! Help your fellow Americans. Don’t be a dick! Be kind to one another and help some Dogs while you are at it!

6- Lastly, check out our store and buy some stuff! Thank you!

#spikespack


Memorial Day Speech

I was fortunate to get to speak at the City of San Francisco Memorial Day Ceremony.

I’ve been asked by a few people to share the text from the speech.

Here it is:

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here with you today to celebrate and honor those who’ve given their all defending this amazing country.

I’d like to pose a question to those of you listening today:

What’s the best way to honor those who’ve died serving this country?

I’ll let you think about that for a while.

What exactly is Memorial Day?

 let me give you the official version, fresh off the google machine with the help of history.com:

“Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Now,

As a teenager, I knew that I wanted to be in the military and that I wanted to be face to face, eye to eye with the people who wanted to do us Americans harm.

After a few years and some significant self-imposed speed bumps, I made it into the Special Operations community.

I remember my first few Memorial Day ceremonies in the military.

I remember them seeming distant and impersonal. 

I didn’t really know the people we were talking about at those Memorial Day events back then 

However I did know I was a candidate and I was standing with candidates to be remembered on future memorial days.

I was foolish and young and self-centered.

I guess I’m still those things, well..except for young, but it seems I can hide them better now.

After a little over a decade in the SEAL Teams, I started losing friends on post 9/11 missions to places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

I remember being angry when I lost those friends because I felt as though the general public really didn’t care. 

I felt like my buddies had died and the only people who really felt the sting of their loss were those of us who were close to them.

I’d like to talk about one of my dead buddies 

I am carrying him close in my heart today.

He died in Afghanistan.

He was a better man than I.

Today I’ll refer to my buddy as “Yankee.” 

Yankee actually grew up here in California. I refer to him as Yankee because he always wore or had a NY Yankees hat with him, including when he went on missions. 

I asked him once about the whole Yankees hat thing. He told me,

“look man, I want the last thing that the people we are fighting to see before they die is a symbol of NY.

What they and their buddies did to NY and DC on 9/11 needs to be the last thing they think about in this world.”

Yankee was one of the Americans who deployed immediately after 9/11. 

He continued to do combat deployments until he and 30 other Americans were killed in August of 2011. 

He went to combat again and again and again. 

He never let up. He died on his way to a fight.

Yankee left a family and he left those of us who knew him well with memories that we will carry with us always.

One of my favorite, random memories of Yankee was how he’d gather with a few of us and smoke “Lucky Strike” cigarettes prior to boarding the Helicopters for a mission. 

None of us were really smokers, it was just a thing we did and we considered it good luck.

Yankee always looked at us and smirked as he broke the filter off of his cigarette. 

He never said it, but we knew he was scoffing at us for being weak and needing a filter.

Yankee was tough and cunning and extremely driven.

Another memory I have of Yankee took place right before we left on a pretty dangerous parachute mission in Afghanistan. 

We were sitting on the tailgate of a special C-130 airplane with all of our gear on, parachute system, guns, bombs etc. 

and someone was about to take our picture, he and I were next to each other and he looked at me and said “This pic will be the one they put on the memorial wall!”

He was Inferring that we were were not going to come back from that mission. He laughed as he said it and so did I. I miss his sense of humor.

Yankee is a good example of those we celebrate today. They knew the risks. They knew that they could perish.

The majesty of that decision to go, even if it could kill you, cannot be overstated.

Yankee, like many Americans, volunteered to serve. Not just once, but every single time he went on a mission. 

He spent years away from his family, living in crappy places. 

He did it for a decade, with very few breaks.

Why did he do it?

I think That is the thing we need to understand today. 

The thing that Memorial Day should etch onto the hard-drive between our ears and even more importantly, into the beating hearts in our chest. 

It is the most important part of the relationship between those who go and fight and those who stay here.

He did it, like so many others, because he truly believed that he was participating in an endeavor to protect the place where humans could reach their full potential. 

He believed in the best of America.

America is undoubtedly flawed and troubled. We always have been.

But America is a place where the word “opportunity” actually means something. 

One could argue that the wars fought by Americans before and after the inception of “Decoration day AKA Memorial Day” were fought about opportunity.

It is a noble idea. The idea that no matter what, in America, one has opportunity. 

Now, I know there are significant disagreements about how we create opportunity for everyone, but nobody can argue that opportunity isn’t important. 

It is an American tenet. 

And in the case of those we are here to remember, it was and is a tenet worth dying for.

Now the tough part.

The answer to the question I asked at the beginning of this speech.

How do we best honor those who’ve died fighting for this country?

I’ve put quite a bit of thought into this because I’ve lost some very good friends in combat and I often wonder what they would say if they were here to talk about it.

I believe they would say something like, “live your life full.” Don’t waste time on platitudes and fluffy language, ribbons and bumper stickers. 

Actually work on living a Good life and helping those around you. Especially those with less opportunity. 

Do something daily to make the lives of other Americans better.

See, the guys I know who fought and died over the last 18 years were not big on ceremony, they were big on actualities, big on results.

I believe that When we leave this beautiful ceremony today and get on with our lives, the real work of honoring those who’ve died while serving this nation begins.

It begins in small quiet ways that aren’t on stage for everyone to see.

It begins in how we treat one another, how we work to ensure that the America whose destiny we hold in our hands today   points towards the ideal that those who’ve died defending it would be proud of.

Simple things:

Vote,

debate in a respectful way, the ways to make our country better. 

Respectfully Hold our elected officials accountable for the missions they send our military to execute.

Volunteer. Seek out opportunities to improve our communities.

Take care of each other. Be good to each other.

It is our obligation and the most meaningful way we can honor the memory of those brave souls who left us too soon while fighting on our behalf.

Today I love Memorial Day 

It compels me. 

I hope it will compel you. 

Live your life full. 

Don’t waste a second of it.

That’s what Yankee would want. 

I’m sure of it.”


Vests in help in many ways

We recently met with K9 Rex in Franklin County VA. We wanted to meet him because he was actually saved from some major injuries because of the custom fit K9 Storm ballistic vest provided by you, our supporters.

Rex was working alongside his partner and some US Marshals and located a suspect hiding in the attic, inside a trash bag. Rex is 11 years old and will retire soon, but in spite of his seniority, he apprehended the suspect with his teeth. After the suspect was being taken into custody by his human teammates Rex fell through a hole in the ceiling onto the floor below. The floor was covered in drywall screws and because Rex was wearing his vest, he was saved from serious injury.

It was great to see Rex and see that he was still kicking ass because of our generous supporters. From here on out I will refer to you as the “Spike’s Pack” because like a dog pack, we all watch out for each other and ensure that all are cared for.

It is very compelling to see our “Spike’s Pack” donations doing good things for the K9’s who work so hard for us.

Thanks 1000 times! Enjoy this video of K9 Rex. A recipient of your kindness and generosity!

With gratitude,

Jimmy-

P.S. I was accepted to Yale as an undergrad! I’ll be a 52 year old college student!