In the fall of 2014, three years after I had retired from the military, I was given the opportunity to help out the Norfolk, VA Police K9 Unit. I didn’t really do much, they more or less just kind of took me in and helped me feel like I had something to offer. While doing that, I saw that there were K9 needs that the municipality couldn’t support. It was made most clear by a K9 that had an injury that needed surgery. I thought that I needed to do something for that Dog. So, I went to a friend and he helped me create Spike’s K9 Fund logo:
It was important for me to represent the K9’s that I’d served with, who had been killed in action. The four red stars represent, Spike, Toby, Falco and Remco.
Once I had that, I had some sweatshirts printed up with it and sold them using social media.
And we were off. In 2015 I received, with the help of some very good friends and their legal representation, we received the IRS documentation to be a bonafide 501c3 organization. Initially, I thought we’d need a kennel facility, but with the help of one of our former board members, Kim Wheeler, I realized that we could do far more for many more K9’s with the $ we’d be spending on building and operating a structure. So we initially started with taking care of medical cost assistance and then K9 Krijger was shot and killed and I knew by looking at this X-Ray:
we needed to do something about this. Krijger had been shot by a man who’d been involved in a brutal assault on his spouse and when he threatened the officers, Krijger was sent. The suspect shot Krijger twice with his hand-gun, killing him. At this point, I knew that we needed to provide these Dogs with the best and most utilitarian body-armor available. It was made by K9 Storm and the vests are light and custom fit. K9 Storm has documented cases of K9’s being shot in their vests and going to work the next shift. We have put these vests on close to 600 K9’s.
Later, we looked at the # of K9’s who die in hot vehicles, and we started a relationship with a very good company that provides heat alert and door popper systems. Ace K9, gives excellent equipment and great service. We’ve provided over 100 of their systems to handlers across the country.
Lastly, I want to share this:
This is from a donor in 2015. I kept this and keep it where I can see it. We take the generosity that our supporters show us, very seriously.
Spike’s K9 Fund has helped close to 1200 K9’s in 48 states. There are approximately 25,000 working K9’s in Law enforcement, Search and Rescue, and military roles in the US and our goal is to ensure that they are all cared for. Our mission will continue to expand and we will continue finding ways to help these innocent creatures, Dogs that we bring into our crazy human world.
In closing, I had my life saved in violent combat situations by K9’s and I also have had my life saved by K9’s in non-violent battles I am fighting. I’m not alone. K9’s deserve our best effort.
Thank you for supporting us and thank you for caring about these amazing souls.