A little over a year ago, board members of the Chesapeake K-9 Fund reached out to my agency to see if they could help in the purchase of K-9 equipment for our unit. You see, the Chesapeake K-9 Fund is the brainchild of Wendy Oliver, a wonderful woman whose energy, optimism and unbridled enthusiasm is infectious.
Wendy is an avid dog lover and a huge supporter of Anne Arundel County law enforcement. For her, the nonprofit was a natural fit in which she could channel her passion, hence she dove in feet first to help K-9 units throughout the county with items that are either not funded, are worn out or are unexpected expenditures.
Although I could think of nothing we were in critical need of, I thanked her for her help and efforts and made it clear we would support this wonderful charity. Well, I signed up for the inaugural Chesapeake K-9 Fund 5K! Yup, I ran every step. Ouch!
A couple of months went by until I woke up one sweltering summer morning to the news story of a police K-9 that had been inadvertently left in a car after his shift in another state. Unfortunately, this oversight by his handler cost the K-9 his life. It stuck in my mind, and on the way to work, I called my K-9 sergeant and questioned him at length (OK, maybe I kind of interrogated him) about the state of our current heat alarms in our K-9 cars. I learned that one of our older vehicle’s alarms had gone on the fritz and was beyond repair. Then it hit me: I wonder if the Chesapeake K-9 Fund could help?
The answer was a resounding “absolutely!” Wendy sprang into action, letting us know she had worked her charm on the manufacturers of these pricey but much needed heat alarms. She had secured dealer pricing for the units to donate to agencies that were in need.
Within two weeks, I got the call that the new custom-designed Ace K-9 Hot-N-Pop system was here. Wow, I was floored. Turns out this new state-of-the-art system constantly monitors the interior temperature of the K-9 cruiser. If it gets too hot, the windows roll down, a fan turns on and the horn sounds. All the while, the handler’s pager receives an alert that the temperature has risen to dangerous levels. But wait, there’s more! The alarm has the ability to sense when the K-9 has been left unattended in a vehicle that is not running and has high interior temperatures, and it will signal the deputy.
I was so excited the board members of the Chesapeake K-9 Fund stepped up to ensure that K-9 Chase and his handler, Corporal Michele Goodman, would be provided with the top-of-the-line equipment to carry out their daily duties safely and be in line with our other three canines.
It is heartening to have the support of the citizens we are sworn to protect. To know that people donate their hard-earned money to assure the health and welfare of our four-legged heroes is beyond words.
As I sit here contemplating what my next move to reciprocate the Chesapeake K-9 Fund’s generosity, I realize the second annual Chesapeake K-9 Fund 5K “Run for the Dogs in Blue” is just a few months away. I better start training. After all, it’s our responsibility to keep our four-legged heroes safe!