Last Thursday we executed our first “Spike’s School” with a great crew of Officers and K9’s from the Portsmouth, VA Police Department. We hired the Crystal Clear K9, husband and wife team (I have no idea how they do it, my wife would kill me if we worked together) as trainers. We had such a good day in spite of the fact that we had never done anything like this.
After the nervousness wore off, and we focused on why we were all there; the dogs, everything went smoothly. I feel comfortable calling our first Spike’s School a success. We had a good debrief and we all agreed that more training days would be better.
I was a bit concerned about mixing civilian trainers with Law Enforcement because I worried that the Cops might not respect the civilians in the same way that they would another cop. Turns out it was not a problem at all. The Officers quickly saw that the trainers were pros and that they had things they could teach them.
I remember a time when we had these discussions in the NSW community. We began hiring professional competitive shooters to help us with our speed and efficiency on our guns. We hired a man named Jerry Barnhart. I remember the first thing he said after he introduced himself. He said; “I have never been in a real gunfight, but I train every day to be faster and more accurate and I believe that what I have learned will help you in a gunfight.” He was correct. His training helped us raise our game. Additionally, we, after MUCH trepidation, began to hire civilian skydivers to help us raise our game in that arena. Steve and Sara Curtis and their crew, helped raise our parachute insertion abilities to a much higher and safer level. It really makes sense if you step back and consider that these civilians, like Crystal Clear K9, have dedicated their lives to this skill, whether it be shooting or skydiving or K9 training, it is all those folks do, every day. In the Special Operations world, we had other things we had to concentrate on, so it made total sense to bring in “subject matter experts” to help us in specific areas. I feel like this holds true in the K9 world as well.
Our next Spike’s School class is scheduled for 17 December 2020 in Tacoma Washington. The highly regarded Evan Nolte Cross will teach emergency medicine techniques to the Tacoma PD K9 Unit. Evan is a military medic who has spent much time in the Special Operations world working on healthy and wounded K9’s. This class is especially potent because the Tacoma PD lost a K9 in August of this year. When I started Spike’s K9 Fund, I just wanted to “help the Dogs” and I wasn’t sure how to do that most effectively. As we have matured as an organization, I have come to see that education is the #1 way to help/save these Dogs.
I sincerely appreciate the hard work of our employees, volunteers and supporters as we move into this new form of K9 advocacy.
Have a great week Spike’s Pack. 🙏🏻