Spikes K9 Fund was created to give back to the working dogs that saved the lives of their Founder James Hatch, a retired Special Warfare Operator and his teammates while he was active in the military.
Spikes K9 Fund aspires to ensure every K9 receives exactly what they need every time. They purchase gear to keep them safer and for peak operation, and they pay for critical medical treatment to help them return to work or live their retirement days in complete health.
The organization is named after Jimmy’s first and most memorable working K9, Spike. He was KIA in December 2006, so Jimmy wanted to memorialize him with every K9 helped in his honor. Each of the stars in Spikes K9 Fund’s logo also represents a K9 that Jimmy served with that was KIA.
Daysha McGrath from Tomahawk Charitable Solutions spoke to Director of Operations, Emily Grey about their organization.
How does Spikes K9 Fund support and honor veterans, active military, and law enforcement communities?
A working K9 is an asset to any team, they are a force multiplier. Since our mission is to protect every working K9 that works on behalf of humans (whether it’s with military, police, or SAR), it is in turn making our communities in which they work, a safer place to live. We also provide care for retired working K9s, because just like our retired human veterans and first responders, they deserve the proper care after serving our communities for so long. So when an active/retired K9 needs an emergency surgery / procedure that the family or department cannot afford, that’s where we step in again and cover the medical expenses so they can receive the care they deserve.
How does Spikes K9 raise funds?
We are able to carry out our mission by the support of our donors through online fundraising (through social media and virtual fundraising platforms), various events, our online store, grants, and relationships with generous organizations like Tomahawk Charitable Solutions.
What impact does a working military or law enforcement dog have on the personnel they are working with?
A working K9 is an asset to any team, they are a force multiplier. They are able to accomplish the work of 10 humans in a fraction of the time, with their senses and athletic ability.
What is the process for Spikes K9 Fund – How do you choose what dogs to help and support?
We have a waiting list of dogs from Departments/Teams across the Country that need our help. We prioritize our support by helping the dogs that first need medical assistance (these are normally emergency situations) and then the ones that are at a higher risk of being involved in a violent situation.
How did Anderson Cooper get involved with Spikes K9 Fund?
Anderson Cooper first got involved when he contacted Jimmy for an interview regarding Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his base in 2009. Jimmy was injured on a mission to retrieve Bergdahl, which ultimately ended his career. Anderson wanted to hear his side of the story and then became interested in Spike’s K9 Fund. Anderson and Jimmy quickly became friends, and the rest was history!
Who are the folks that make up Spikes K9 Fund?
We have 2 full-time employees - Jimmy and myself (Emily Grey), then 3 part-time employees (Annemarie, Paige, and Dave) and MANY volunteers that make the magic happen!
What are their backgrounds?
I got my degree in Biology and working in Veterinary Medicine for 7+ years, and when I met Jimmy through Crossfit, he knew I had a passion for dogs. Neither of us had any experience with running a non-profit, but hard work and determination to make a difference made things happen.
Annemarie is a full-time K9 handler with a local (Norfolk) police department, and in her spare time she helps us with communications.
Paige has a background and experience in the social media realm, so she has helped us take our social media to the next level.
Dave helps us run our online store and oversees all of our inventory and also makes sure every order is fulfilled.
What you are currently working on or have planned for 2020?
Staying healthy during COVID-19 outbreak and our annual SOIREE!
Any announcements? Events?
We are also planning other various events, but we are still ironing out details due to the unpredictable future.
What is the ultimate goal for Spikes K9 Fund for the years to come as a foundation?
We would like to assist every working K9 that is/has worked on behalf of humans. There is an estimated 25,000 working dogs in the U.S. so we have a lot of work to do!
What is one of the most memorable or special moments that Spikes K9 Fund has been a part of?
There are SO many! Being able to provide protection and help size the entire Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department of 30+ dogs, all at once at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse (where the Pacers and Fever play) was pretty incredible. They are one of the most deployed K9 units in the Country, and they had some serious crime happen prior to our sizing event, but the Police Chief and City still made time to come by and share their support. We were also joined by K9 Storm (the company that manufactures the gear we provide) and our volunteers, which made it extra special.
If Spikes K9 Fund could tell others one thing about the military / law enforcement community and working dogs, what would it be?
There would be many more memorials for human first responders and military members were it not for these amazing dogs.
Please feel free to share this blog post to your friends and family and continue to help spread awareness of what Spikes K9 Fund is doing for law enforcement and military to keep these communities and the dogs safer.
In Partnership with Tomahawk Charitable Solutions