On September first, runners across the US laced up their trainers and hit the streets to support a great charitable organization, K9s United. I was among them. It was National Police K9 Day and to commemorate the date, the charity held a virtual 9k as a fundraiser, the #2020FallenK9MemorialRun.
Debbie Johnson founded K9s United in 2015. After hearing of the tragic death of Baron—one of her local K9 officers—she felt moved to attend the funeral and consequently help in any way she could, even enrolling in the Civilian Law Enforcement Academy.
During a ride along and in meetings with department officials, she realized how much of the budgetary needs of K9 units was not being met. It prompted her to begin various efforts to raise funds to cover those shortfalls, eventually culminating in the creation of K9s United.
The money raised by the group goes directly to the purchase of equipment for the K9s, not simply donations to department coffers.
On their website, they state their vision as “a world where every K9 officer has everything they need to survive and thrive as the selfless heroes they truly are.”
In addition to raising these much needed funds and providing all sorts of gear, the group has championed legislation to protect K9 officers and strengthen penalties for those who injure or kill a K9. Currently, K9s United is also pursuing federal legislation that allows any critically injured K9 to be transported via EMS which is surprisingly not always allowed right now.
Due to the COVID 19 restrictions, the fundraising event was tamped down for 2020, which prompted the addition of the virtual element, like so many other races and fundraisers in this crazy year. The upside to this is that it allows people from all over, like myself in Portland, to take part instead of limiting participants to those in vicinity in Florida.
So far, according to their website, they have raised over $375,000 and had a positive impact on more than seventy agencies. As great as that sounds, there is ALWAYS a need for more help. If you would be interested in donating or learning more about this great not-for-profit, just follow this link.https://www.k9sunited.org/
I do have a request out to Ms. Johnson, so maybe we will get her to visit us on The American Canine Podcast one of these days so she can do a much better job of explaining the very important mission of K9s United.
In Other News:
Don’t call it a comeback
Some fifty years since being designated extinct in the wild, it turns out the New Guinea Singing Dog is seeing an encore. A few years ago, researchers traveled to the remote wilds of western New Guinea to examine wild dogs living in the area. Now, looking at blood samples and genetic markers from those dogs as well as captive signing dogs, the scientists say the highland dogs are the original New Guinea singing dog species, which are closely related to the dingos found in nearby Australia. Researchers say they hope to breed some of the wild dogs to the captive ones to help boost the population. You can give this rare vocal harmonization a listen in this video.
Meanwhile, we continue slogging through this purgatory called 2020. Here in the PNW, we are still seeing unusually high temperatures, so I for one, will be happy when some fall weather arrives. Until next time, remember to keep yourself and your pup hydrated, wear your mask, and get out there and do something with your dog!