K-9s are members of many different agencies dedicated to
serving and protecting us. They are regularly used for such things as search and
rescue, detection of explosives and narcotics and apprehension of suspects. A
typical day for a working K-9 can involve navigating rugged terrain,
jumping fences, chasing down a suspect, searching through
rubble, all of which takes a toll on their bodies and their health. Average working time for these dogs is only 5
to 8 years because of that stress. So what
happens to them when they retire? I
asked Cameron Beall, President of Retired K-9 Heroes, that very question.
In most cases, the handlers bring their trusted K-9 partner
home to live with them. However, unlike
their human counterparts, these K-9s enter retirement with absolutely no
benefits! In many agencies, K-9s are
categorized as equipment and therefore do not qualify for any sort of
retirement benefits. Needless to say, their
retirement years can be fraught with chronic back and joint problems, dental
issues and a premature decline in overall health due to the physicality of
their work. After speaking with Cameron
I started to understand just what a financial burden this could mean for an
officer that gives a home to a retired K-9.
That’s where Retired K-9 Heroes steps in to help.
Cameron, being a police officer himself adopted his partner
of 5 years when she retired. She is an
11 year old Belgian Malinois who is now a part of his family. After speaking with other handlers from around
the country and based on his own experience, he saw the need for an
organization that could lend a helping hand.
Retired K-9 Heroes does just that.
Through donations, they are able to assist with vet bills, food and supplies
making retirement more comfortable for the K-9s and less of a financial burden
for the handler.
These dogs risk their lives every day during their working
years to keep us safe. I hope that we
can all agree they deserve to retire with dignity and should never suffer due
to lack of retirement benefits or financial constraints. Luckily, organizations like Retired K-9
Heroes are working very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.
If you would like to learn more about Retired K-9 Heroes or
donated directly to them please click here visit their website.