Happy Mother’s Day to all of the awesome moms out there!
Today we visited one of our K9s4KIDs K9s, K9 Ace at Aldine ISD Police Department!
Videography: Jeb at Captiv Creative
Kyle Field Day is a free service event located inside the concourse of Kyle Field in which students, families and Bryan/College Station residents can participate in 50+ creative, interactive booths set up by various on and off campus organizations to benefit their respective causes.
Kyle Field Day is hosted by Memorial Student Center Freshmen in Service and Hosting (MSC FISH), a freshmen leadership organization at Texas A&M University. Our two K9s4KIDs K9s, K9 Tyson and K9 Jackie, at Texas A&M University were even able to stop by!
Our service project at Kyle Field Day was to paint a dog house and….
THUMB-thing special! U Paint-It! here in College Station was so generous to donate the ceramic dog bowls for us to “paint” at the event. Every person that came by the K9s4COPs booth left their thumbprint on a dog bowl. We had over 1,000 people stop by!
Want one of these awesome dog bowls or dog house for yourself?! Good news, they will be auctioned off at our gala on October 10th! Stay tuned for more details!!
As the semester comes to an end, the Strategic Philanthropy class at Mays Business School has been been busy deciding on how to distribute $62,500 in grant funding.
The students in the class evaluated 43 nonprofit applications from Bryan and College Station. K9s4COPs is so excited to announce we are one of the five nonprofits to receive funding. We are so grateful for the support from The Philanthropy Lab and a newfound partnership with the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation’s Community Grant Program, Texas A&M University, and Mays Business School. The $12,500 grant we received will go to purchase a K9 officer!
Kristi Schiller says the story stopped her cold.
Watching a news broadcast about a grief-stricken Houston-area deputy who lost his K9 partner during a struggle with a suspect, the reporter mentioned there wasn’t enough money to give the officer a replacement pup. A self-described lover of both dogs and law enforcement, Schiller dug into her own pocket to pay for a new K9 partner for the deputy. That was four years and sixty dogs ago.
Ruff Times: Woman Donates K9s to Cops
Police K9’s do important work, no one disputes that, but many police and sheriff’s departments are cash crunched and have been forced to cut K9s from the budget. The highly trained dogs can cost upwards of $15,000, just for the initial purchase. Schiller saw a need and vowed to fill it. She started K9s4COPS, a non-profit organization that buys and trains the dogs and then gives them away to law enforcement officers. Her first fundraiser was in her backyard. She began knocking on corporate doors all over Texas, asking for donations.
“Kristi Schiller is not a gal you say no to,” says a friend who became a supporter.
Any law enforcement agency can apply and Schiller has enlisted a handful of deputies and police officers who review the applications once a quarter and make recommendations. Those who receive good news travel to Houston to choose and train with their K9 partner before returning home as a team. Schiller’s dogs are now fighting crime in 17 states.
Pasadena, Texas Police Office Mark Brinker received his K9 partner, Austin, in January.
“It would be a whole different show without him,” Brinker says.
Schiller deflects the credit, “It’s amazing what they’ve done with what little I’ve given them.”
Instead, she wants to tell you about her next challenge, giving dogs to schools. The mom of a young daughter, Schiller has launched K9s4KIDS and has given away six so far to promote what she calls a safe learning environment.
Every time I learn of another school shooting I can’t help but think what if a K9 had been present?
Teachers packing heat aren’t the answer. They underpaid superheroes to begin with; they don’t need this added responsibility. Even if they’re certified to carry, do they have to time to go the range and maintain their skills? I’m fortunate enough to have my own gun range and know what it takes to remain proficient with firearms. It takes work! I could not imagine trying to maintain that precision while trying to herd 25 screaming first graders!
What happens when children are hit with “friendly fire” from a person with the very best of intentions? You can control a weapon but what about those children around it? Who is going to stop a panicking child from running where they shouldn’t? That’s the teachers job. Keeping them out of harm’s way not inadvertently putting them there!
What if the weapon falls into the hands of a child? Or one of those students on edge that are often at the heart of theses tragic shootings?
I believe K9s are the deterrents we should be seeking. A K9 isn’t going to stop an active shooter situation, but he can sure buy an extra 45 seconds for those seeking safety or signal when someone’s entering campus with gunshot residue on their hands or firearms, or heaven forbid, explosives, in their backpacks! It’s already well documented as to how successful K9s are at keeping drugs off of campuses, why should firearms be any different?
People DO NOT realize how highly trained these dogs truly are! They might not be able to “detect crazy” but trust me their instincts on crazy are way better than ours! How many times have we seen stories where household pets have alerted their owners to dangerous situations? How about the dog that warned the family off of the abusive babysitter? The dogs, on their own, have that instinct. K9s are selected for that superior trait and it’s honed to perfection through training.
Take our own “Shadow Sentinels,” our personal protection K9s. I can’t fathom the safety of my child without her “ninja nanny.” My daughter Sinclair is 44 pounds, dripping wet. If someone was to grab her and starting running, there’s not much she can do. With K9 Daisy at her side, the odds of a stranger danger dramatically decrease.
All it takes is one code word (usually in Czech, Dutch or German) to put Daisy in stealth mode. She locks on an assailant to give Sinclair a chance to get free. When the code word for stop is engaged, she immediately stops and goes back to family pet mode. Again, the switch is immediate, from jaws clamped around an attacker one second to being attacked by pets and praise by a group of children in another.
K9s4KIDs may not be the best answer, but until someone comes up with a better one that doesn’t involve $1,000 Kevlar backpacks or blankets, I’m not budging.
“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.