K9s4COPs in the Rose Parade, The Dog Journal

K-9 FLOAT TO APPEAR IN ROSE PARADE – “It will be 22 feet tall and is part of the K9’S 4 COPS float. The organization is based in Houston.”

A non-profit organization called K9s4Cops successfully applied for a spot in the upcoming Rose Parade to take place on New Years Day. K9s4Cops provides K-9 officers to law enforcement agencies across the U.S. The float will feature a 22 foot dog. Read more from KHOU:

It began after a Houston woman saw a story on the news about a Harris County Precinct 4 K-9 named Blek that cornered a suspect in the woods.

“The dog ran off looking for the suspect and the suspect ended up actually choking K-9 Blek,” said Melanie Orth, Operations Manager of K9’S 4 COPS.

Watching the story, Kristi Schiller was determined to do something.

“I tried to give a dog. It wasn’t that easy to replace one and hence, K9’s 4 COPS was born,” she said.

The group pays for specialized dogs to be brought in from Europe to protect and serve in America.

“In that short time we’ve given over 50 dogs to schools and law enforcement agencies across the country,” Jackson said.

“I made (Blek) a promise that I would make things right,” said Harris County Precinct 4 Deputy Ted Dahlin who had the dog as his K9 partner. “Never imagined that something like this would come from that,” he said, referring to the founding of K9’S 4 COPS and now its presence in the prestigious Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.

As an added bonus the float will include nine real dogs which amounts to some pretty good extra security along the parade route in Pasadena, California. The float looks like it’s coming along nicely. Click here for the full story and a news video. Also, click here for more about K9s4Cops (Photos from their Facebook page).

Gone To The Dogs

A 140-pound King Shepherd isn’t the normal accessory for a glamorous, jet-setting philanthropist, but where Kristi Schiller goes so does Johnny Cash, a long-hair Lothario with an eye for protecting his human pack and an appetite for chicken fried steaks and the occasional landscape rock.

“He has logged more private plane hours than most pilots and blows me away with his superhuman abilities,” laughs Schiller.

In addition to Johnny Cash, Schiller is almost always accompanied by two tri-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and the most recent addition, A Belgian Malinois “bomb dog” named Daisy. From her River Oaks home in Houston to the ranch in Millican, Texas, just south of College Station and her husband’s alma mater Texas A&M University, her rowdy, but well-mannered K-9 entourage is just one of the many things that set Schiller apart from the stereotypical socialite.

Schiller is a social entrepreneur with a fashionable flare and cowgirl grit.

A true Texas woman, Schiller grew up “where the pavement ends and the Gulf of Mexico begins” in Freeport, Texas, just southwest of Houston. Her parents taught her early on that self-worth comes from within.

“I grew up on a shipyard along the Texas Gulf Coast, where there were oyster shells in everyone’s driveways” she relates. “I was raised to be resourceful and make your

own path, not sit on the side of the street as the parade drove by. I started serving on my first board of the local orphanage at a mere 18 and from this I launched a toy drive for birthdays and holidays for these children, who were not yet placed in foster homes. My parents never explained to us someone had less than but rather how much more you can help the next person, whether it be with knowledge, sweat equity or through monetary involvement. I was raised to

see a broader side of charity than most. Realistically, we exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give. I was instilled at a very early age by my parents, ‘If you have…then you DO.’”

Armed with a degree in broadcast journalism, Schiller spent ten years in broadcasting from early stints on national radio to E! Entertainment Television and Hard Copy. She later found a new voice as internet entrepreneur, earning the title of “Queen of the Internet” from Forbes Magazine in 1997.

In 2001, Schiller met John,  Chairman and CEO of Energy XXI, one of the largest independent oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico…

To read the rest of this article, click here to download the PDF of K-9 COP Magazine

K9s4COPs in the Rose Parade, KTLA

K9s4COPs dedicates its inaugural Rose Parade float to the heroic law enforcement K9 Units across America and to the men and women who serve and protect our community. K9s4COPs, a non-profit foundation, is dedicated to gifting highly trained K9s trained and ready for action. The intent of our float is to honor our four legged guardians who risk their lives everyday and in most states are considered full-fledged police officers. Sitting atop a bed of roses is our larger than life K9 that resembles our mascot a King Shepherd, Johnny Cash. Floral ribbons run the length of the float with clusters of white stars and floral fireworks forming a backdrop to frame the float. Our founder Kristi Schiller and her family will be joined by selected officers and deputies with their K9s by their side. These officers will be selected from the over 50 K9s that have been gifted to 23 agencies in 9 states in our 2 ½ years as a non-profit.

Construction Height:    22 feet Construction Width:     18 feet Construction Length:    55 feet

The stately German shepherd is artistically decorated in a variety of seeds and grasses to create the realistic fur. These include dark brown nyjer seed and beige sesame seeds with accents of black pharmitas and golden pampas grass. Its protective vest is covered in onion seed. Ribbons of gold strawflower petals flow the length of the float with platforms created in cream colored ironed cornhusk and white coconut chips. Crisp white stars created in sweet rice and dendrobium orchid florets float over the lush red carpet gardens comprised of over 50,000 brilliant red Opium roses and red gerbera. Floral displays of intense orange, red and purple feature red ginger, Lobster Claw, Rostrata, Caribea and Parakeet heliconia, bird of paradise, leucadendron, liatris, roses and specialty anthuriums, Completing this spectacular entry are floral explosions created in thousands of yellow Oncidium orchids, roses and bird of paradise at the rear of the float.

Source: http://ktla.com/2013/12/11/k9s-4cops/#ixzz2oyjkMAGF

Have you ever had a dream truly come to life?

“Dreams Come True” at the 125th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade. They really, really do.

I’m sitting here, with tears in my eyes, in awe of the sight before me in the staging warehouses of Fiesta Parade Floats as K9s4COPs comes to life in floral splendor. The K9s4COPs float honors those who work toward building safer communities—the gallant K9s and the men and women with whom they serve.

With my personal protection dog and constant companion Johnny Cash at my side, I’m watching with pride as he comes to life in meticulous detail. Lifelike fur made from seeds and grasses painstakingly placed in a 22-foot molded form—it’s somewhat surreal to look from the dog at my side to one coming to life before my eyes.

My dream is coming to life, and I’m overjoyed. And, it’s amazing to think that this is all born from tragedy three years ago….

Harris County Precinct 4 Deputy Constable Ted Dahlin will be riding with us on the float with K9 Daisy, but the officer he credits with saving his life—K9 Blek will be with us only in spirit.

Killed in action while chasing a robbery suspect in late December 2010, it was K9 Blek’s heroism and tragic loss that has brought us here today, to this moment. Come the morn of January 1, the world will learn of his gallant sacrifice and how many lives he has saved since his death.

K9 Blek’s death and Ted’s loss haunted me. A consummate animal lover, I knew and understood the dog and human bond. I knew I couldn’t repair the hole left by K9 Blek in Ted’s life, but I could make his memory worth something and make sure more K9s were available to keep our law enforcement officers and our communities safe.

Trained K9s don’t come cheap, ranging between $10,000 and $15,000. Through the generous donations, K9s4COPs has placed than 60 dogs to law enforcement agencies and school districts. When you consider that just one dog alone confiscated more than $6 million in drugs last year, imagine that times 60! They have a tremendous impact, from detecting drugs and explosives to protecting our children in schools—and making sure that officers go home to their families at night.

The Tournament of Roses Parade offers us an unprecedented opportunity to share with the world how value, how important K9s are to our communities. The parade offers K9s4COPs more exposure than we ever thought possible with nearly million attendees along the 5.5 mile long route to more than 100 million television viewers worldwide.

Not only is the Tournament of Roses Parade great for sharing our mission, it’s just plain old fashioned fun. It’s been a treasure to share this experience with my husband John and daughter Sinclair as well as my dedicated K9s4COPs team—P+R Productions President Jenna Jackson and her husband K9s4COPs board member Brendan Gilbert, K9s4COPs Executive Director Liz Lara Carreno and her husband Hector, Deputy Constable Dahlin and his wife Jackie and their children Emily and Cole, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sargent Mike Thomas and his wife Tamara, Mike and Brenda Tuttle, K9s4COPs board member Pam Mahoney and her husband, Tracy, Annie Kahn, board member Mark Spillard, my dear mother Jo-Jo Hoss, photographer Josh Welch, Jaz and Jason Stanze with Houston K9 Academy, K9s4COPs Operations Manager Melanie Orth and her husband Brady Boyd, the talented P+R Productions Team of Suzy and Anthony Jackson, Michael Spicer, Adrian Garcia, Matt Godwin, Chris Bell, Pierre Cardenas and Lauryn Sanford.

Our mornings start very early—at 4 .a.m.—in the last minute rush to finish the floats. The entire float is made entirely of flowers or plant material, and to survive through New Year’s Day, everything comes together at the last possible minute. Employees and volunteers, like the local Girl Scout troop, have worked seemingly around the clock to bring the float to life.

The day after Christmas we watched Johnny Cash’s alter ego get a base coat of Lentil seeds, onion seeds, toasted sesame seeds, Kelp and seaweed glued to the mold. By Friday evening, he had lifelike fur made of grasses.

We are surrounded by all manner of flowers—and magicians. There’s no other way to describe how these floats come to life. It’s magic. The time and detail is truly a labor of love.

It’s the fruition of Dahlin’s desire to make sure that he would make things right after Blek’s death. It’s the fruition of my dream to help him make that possible, and make our communities safer for others.

It’s dreams coming true before the world.


K9s4COPs in the Rose Parade, The Dog Channel

Rose Parade Float Celebrates Police K9 Charity


By Ernie Slone | Posted: Dec 27, 2013, 4 p.m. EST
The theme of the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade is “Dreams Come True,’’ and one float exemplifies the fulfillment of a dream of Kristi Schiller, a Houston woman who wants to aid K9 law-enforcement officers around the country by providing much-needed trained dogs to protect and serve by their sides.
Just over two years ago philanthropist Schiller heard a news report that Harris County Deputy Constable Ted Dahlin had lost his dog Blek in the line of duty, while pursuing burglary suspects. Schiller hoped to donate funds to replace the dog, but then learned of a shortage of trained dogs at police departments across the country, so she responded by founding the charity organization K9s4COPs.I visited with Schiller at Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale, Calif., as workers scrambled to assemble the K9s4COPs float before next Wednesday’s 2014 Rose Parade in nearby Pasadena. She told me why this cause has become such an important mission for her.“The parade will be seen by 1 million people along the route, plus another 100 million watching on TV, and our hope is to raise awareness of what K9 officers go through, how valuable they are,’’ Schiller says. “Having a trained dog at an officer’s side makes so many situations so much safer. If an officer has to enter a warehouse in pursuit of a suspect the dog has such superior senses that he can signal an alert long before any human could know there was a danger.’’Schiller says the dogs have had a large impact in her Houston area community, where K9s4COPs has donated 16 of Harris County’s 23 K9s.

Sgt. Mike Thomas says his police dog Tamra and 15 other police dogs donated to his Harris County Police Department in Texas by K9s4COPs has made a huge difference in combating rampant drug trafficking in the Houston area and keeping officers safe.

“Before we got these dogs we had only 8 dogs to patrol the Houston area, which has become a hub of drug activity and transport nationwide,’’ says Sgt. Mike Thomas, who will ride atop the K9s4COPs float with his donated police dog Tamra. “With so few dogs, we were stretched too thin. It was like trying to spread a teaspoon of peanut butter across a slice of bread.’’

“In the past year just one of these dogs confiscated $6 million worth of drugs, and it cost us $10,000 to donate that trained dog,’’ Schiller says. “You do the math. Then multiply that by 16, the number of dogs we have donated in the Houston area alone, and you can imagine what a major impact that is having, and trained dogs are needed across the United States, and in countries around the world, from detecting explosives to protecting our children in schools.’’

In just over two years the foundation has donated more than 65 K9s to 23 police agencies in nine states. The dogs are specifically trained to assist law enforcement in their work and cost $10,000 to $15,000, which the foundation raises through donations.

K9s4COPs dedicates its inaugural Rose Parade float to the heroic law enforcement K9 Units across America and to the men and women who serve and protect our community. Sitting atop a bed of roses is a larger-than-life K9 that resembles the organization’s mascot a King Shepherd, Johnny Cash. Founder Kristi Schiller, her husband John and daughter Sinclair will be joined by selected officers and deputies with their K9s by their side, representing K9s that have been donated by the organization.

Police dogs are in widespread use a variety of duties, including drug, explosives, and weapon detection and missing person searches. In many jurisdictions police dogs are full-fledged police officers, often with their own badges.

“In our part of the country many officers ride alone, rather than with a partner, so having a K9 partner gives a police officer an extra measure of security,’’ says Deputy Constable Ted Dahlin. “An officer’s family knows he or she has a better chance of coming home safely with that dog by his side.’’

Police officer Tamara, a Belgian Malinois, was one of the first of 65 trained dogs who have been donated to police departments across the nation by the K9s4COPs organization.To learn more about the mission of K9s4COPs and how you can help today, or apply for a grant or donated police K9, click here.

Source: http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-blog/ernie-slone-blog/police-k9-charity-rose-parade-float.aspx

Dreams Come True – The Rose Parade

California here we come! Everyone knows I love Southern California, but I absolutely CANNOT wait to head to Pasadena for the 125th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade this New Year’s Day!

I’m simply OVER THE MOON that K9s4COPs was honored by the Tournament of Roses Association with a float entry to the Rose Parade. The theme for the 125th Tournament is “Dreams Come True,” rather apropos for what K9s4COPs has accomplished in just three short years. Thanks to our generous supporters, we have gifted 50 K9s to 23 agencies since 2011.

The Tournament of Roses offers us an unprecedented opportunity to share K9s4COPs with the masses. The parade itself will have more than 700,000 in attendance andmore than 840,000 online viewers, and it will be televised before 74 million!

We—my husband John, daughter Sinclair and I, along with K9s4COPs Executive Director Liz Lara Carreno, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ted Dahlin, whose tragic loss of his K9 partner Blek inspired the creation of the foundation, and Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Mike Thomas —have the grand honor riding the K9s4COPs float with a 55-foot tall replica of my personal protection dog Johnny Cash, a King Shepherd, in full K9 protective gear.

Award- winning Fiesta Parade Floats has constructed our entry entitled, “Working Together For Safer Communities.” They’re also constructing a float for Miracle-Gro, which I’m sure they’re going to need to complete ours! In keeping with tradition, the entire float—even Johnny Cash’s fur and Kevlar vest, is made entirely of flowers – or seeds and grasses rather.

Our inaugural Rose Parade float is dedicated to the heroic law enforcement K9 units across America and the men and women in blue who work so hard to keep our communities safe.

I am so honored to have K9s4COPs be a part of the time-honored American tradition, and I think John said something about a football game???