All posts by Derek Macclellan

Basking in the Glow of the Rose Parade


Kristi Schiller’s “Dream Came True” when K9s4COPs gained worldwide exposure through the 125th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

Flu medications, or maybe an adrenalin fueled lack of sleep, make you have the weirdest dreams. In color. With surround sound. And the smell … simply divine!

I had the most vivid dream that K9s4COPs was in the Tournament of Roses Parade!

But it wasn’t a just a dream…it was dream that came true. K9s4COPs was honored as one of the only 42 floats in the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade, which was appropriately themed…you guessed it…Dreams Come True!

Most. Amazing. Day. EVER!!!!!

The experience was surreal and I didn’t want it to end! My beloved friend Jenna Jackson’s P&R Productions crew captured every moment from the building of the float to our stroll down Colorado Avenue in Pasadena, California.

We participated in the Rose Parade to draw attention to the great work that our K9 officers and their handlers do serving our communities and to share our mission to provide agencies and schools with highly trained K9s. We wanted to share our story, our mission, with the world. I’m pleased to say the response was overwhelming!

Our message was heard from coast to coast, from the front page of our hometown Houston Chronicle to international media outlets. It was a headline ticker on Yahoo News and featured across the pond on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in England!

On ABC, Hanna Storm and Josh Elliot knocked it out of the park with their coverage of our float. (Plus, they said ours was their favorite animal float of the parade.) They shared our story, from that horrible December when Officer Ted Dahlin lost his partner K9 Blek to the ever growing number of K9s which have been placed with various law enforcement agencies, school districts and college campuses.

Through such incredible world-wide visibility, K9s4COPs gained almost 4,000 new social media followers immediately after the Rose Parade and added many new members to our Woof Pack, so all in all, it was a great success! You too can join the Woof Pack at www.

Our float may not have won any awards this year, but we’ll just see about that in 2015! Once bestowed, a coveted spot in the Rose Parade is a lifetime honor— should we choose to accept.

I’m not about to let this much visibility for K9s4COPs go to waste and we’re already planning next year’s float. We are beyond thankful for the generous donations that made this year’s float possible and we’re already looking for that special sponsor that’s willing to join us in front of more than a billion viewers on New Year’s Day 2015.

This is my dream coming true…every day. With the generous support of countless businesses and individuals and the tireless work of our dedicated team, K9s4COPs has come a long way in just three years, but our mission is far from over.

I tell people I’m too stupid to know what’s impossible. I have ridiculously large dreams, and half the time they come true.

By the way, if anyone finds a glass slipper along Colorado Boulevard, please return it to Texas!!!

Rose Parade Article

American Hero Dog Awards


October 4, 2014

American Hero Dog Awards – ​K9s4COPs has been selected as the charity of choice by six different K9’s nominated for the award. Please vote for these K9s at and K9s4COPs will be the recipient of funds to support our work if these K9s make it to the finals.

Fallen crime-fighting K-9s honored for South Florida sacrifices

With Mike Clary March 07, 2014
​LAKE WORTH — Suzie, a bloodhound, traveled north from her home in Coral Springs on Sunday to pay tribute to four fallen colleagues, K-9 officers who have gone on to their reward after a life of crime-fighting.

Kevin Bolling, a Broward Sheriff’s deputy who accompanied his partner to the ceremony, said he was sure the 9-year-old tracker had a deep appreciation for her fellow officers’ sacrifices.

“She gets to be a dog on Sunday,” said Bolling of his companion. “But she loves to be on the job and gets very excited when it’s time to go to work.”

The 20-minute ceremony attended by dozens of police officers, pet owners and dogs of all shapes and sizes was in honor of two West Palm Beach police dogs and two K-9s with the Palm Beach CountySheriff’s Office who recently died of illness or old age.

But a reminder of the dangers of police work came in the ceremony’s setting, a memorial garden at Simmons Veterinary Hospital that features a bronze statue of Drake, a retired Florida Highway Patrol police dog.

Drake, a 5-year-old German shepherd, was shot and wounded during a burglary at his owner’s home west of West Palm Beach in November 2012. The intruders were looking for weapons, police said.

Drake was euthanized when he was unable to recover from his injuries.

Among those who spoke at the ceremony was Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who provided an update on the criminal case against two men charged in connection with the shooting. They are scheduled to stand trial April 7, he said.

Aronberg and others on hand voiced support for a proposed bill sponsored by state Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, that would make funds available for the care of retired law enforcement dogs. Now the police officers who own and work with the dogs bear most expenses.

“They are considered equipment right now,” said Ken Simmons, owner of the veterinary hospital and sponsor of the memorial service. “We want them to be honored as the heroes they are.”

The memorial, set up in June 2013, includes the names of 112 dogs that served in Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties, Simmons said. Four were added Sunday.

One of those four was Clue, a bloodhound who earned accolades for his search efforts in PBSO cases involving missing children. He died last month at the age of 10.

Also honored was Deni, a German shepherd and longtime partner of PBSO Sgt. Kevin Marks. He grew emotional as he recalled their years together before Deni died of cancer.

“He was definitely a partner,” said Marks. “You end up spending more time with the dogs than with your family sometimes. He definitely caught a lot of bad guys. It was a gut-check for me when he died.”


Nominations now Open for Hero Dogs

January 23, 2014

​The American Humane Association is once again on the prowl to determine which dogs will be crowned the 2014 Hero Dogs.

The nominating period is in full swing and goes through February 28.

Dogs can be nominated by going to, logging their personal information, providing a short, inspiring story about what makes them hero dogs and submitting the nominee’s photo.

Dogs may be nominated in eight categories: Law Enforcement Dogs, Arson Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs and Emerging Hero Dogs. Rank-and-file pet owners can single out a hero dog they know through the Emerging Hero category, which is tailor-made for more local nominations.


Elle, American Humane Association’s Hero Dog 2013. American Humane Association

The voting rounds: • March 7-June 6: Semifinalists chosen through public online voting • June 13-30: Eight category finalists determined by public vote and celebrity panel voting • July 7- September 15: Grand prize winner chosen by a combination of public online voting and a panel of judges

Nominees are narrowed down to 24 semifinalists (three per category), then to eight finalists and eventually to one grand prize winner – the American Hero Dog.

Each dog finalist is flown to Hollywood, Calif., along with two of the dog’s human companions, to attend the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sept. 27, 2014.

Each finalist gets $1,500, which their owners or handlers can donate to one of 15 of the contest’s charity partners. The charity chosen by the grand-prize winner receives an additional $5,000.

Elle, a 5-year-old pit bull therapy dog, was named the American Hero Dog last year.