Fund saves canine lives

Published 5:41 pm Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hardly a police officer in America would even think about going to work without a properly fitting ballistic vest.

It’s a sad reality that they are just as much a necessary part of an officer’s uniform as the shoes and the badge. However, there are some officers — of the canine variety — that have to go to work without a vest, because there is no money for them.

Spike’s K9 Fund has been a big catalyst for changing that in the Hampton Roads area, and we can’t thank them enough.

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Suffolk Police dog, Salvo, finally received a proper fitting ballistic vest from Spike’s K9 Fund a few weeks ago.

Salvo, a Belgian Malinois and German shepherd mix, has been working with the police department for almost a year, and he was the last dog in the unit to have a vest. His handler, Shane Sukowaski, described getting the vest as a weight lifting off of his shoulders.

Salvo had been wearing Sukowaski’s first dog’s vest, even though it didn’t fit. Sukowaski was approached by someone from Spike’s K9 Fund, and once they found out that Salvo didn’t have his own vest, they immediately got more information to get him fitted.

The charity is a nonprofit, and it was founded by former Special Warfare Operator James Hatch. Hatch was a K9 handler on deployments, and he had been involved in multiple situations where the dogs saved his life.

On Hatch’s final deployment, he was critically injured, but his life was spared because of a K9, Spike.

Since then, Hatch founded the fund to help train and care for working dogs. They have multiple campaigns to properly equip working dogs, and Salvo received his vest from the K9 Krijger Ballistic Vest Campaign.

The campaign helps equip law enforcement dogs with ballistic vests to help save their lives. To date, Spike’s K9 Fund has helped 650 dogs with their campaigns.

Salvo is now ready for any call that he and his handler may get in the future.

The nonprofit and the vest company are incredibly important to the K9 community. It is standard for law enforcement agencies to properly outfit their officers, and Spike’s K9 Fund helps make sure the K9 officers can get the same protection.

They make look cute, but they need to be protected too.