Some of the hardest working members of a police force don’t get paid. Police canines play a vital role in law enforcement. Working as a team with their handler, these highly trained dogs perform a multitude of often physically demanding tasks. During their service, all of a police canine’s veterinary needs are taken care of by their agency. However, without a retirement plan, ensuring the medical care they need can be costly. That is where the Valley Retired Police Canine Association comes in.
Ensuring Police Canines Are Cared For
Founded in 1999, the Valley Retired Police Dog Association was started by local canine handlers who saw a need for financial assistance for the care of the retired canines. The sole purpose of the association is to financially assist with veterinary care after a police canine’s retirement. “Our mission is to make sure that our retired K9 partners get the medical care they need and deserve after faithful years of service which is very physically demanding on the dogs,” explained Auburn Police Officer, and Valley Retired Police Dog Association Vice President, Tim Nunn.
The agencies involved with the association are Auburn Police Department, Federal Way Police Department, Kent Police Department, Renton Police Department, and the Tukwila Police Department. There are currently 12 handlers within the participating cities who are members of the association (Auburn two, Federal Way two, Kent two, Renton four and Tukwila two).
A Partnership Like No Other
It is not required for handlers to become members of the association. However, to utilize the assistance of the association, handlers pay yearly dues while their canine is working. Currently, two canines are receiving support from the association; Mack who retired from APD and Kato who retired from KPD.
Typically, a police canine will work five to eight years. Much of the length of a canine’s service is dependent on the canine’s health. Many of the current canines within the participating agencies are younger and are expected to work for several more years. The next likely retiree will be Ace, out of Tukwila; though not for another one to two years.
Each agency’s policy differs when a police canine retires. A canine cannot simply be given away as it is considered the property of the city (or federal, state, county). Most agencies give the handler right of first refusal. If the handler adopts the canine, typically the agency only charges $1.00. “Due to the bond created between the handler and the K9 and the amount of time spent together at home and work, it is very likely the handler will purchase the K9 from the department,” said Nunn.
Nunn was the handler of canine Mack and adopted him upon his retirement. “Mack quickly made the transition [into retirement]. He seems to enjoy staying at home with my wife and enjoys protecting the kids. He loves to go meet the neighborhood kids at the bus stop when they get home from school,” Nunn shared.
Nunn was partnered with a new canine, Jax after Mack’s retirement. “I kept the two dogs separate for a long time. Now they interact, but they do like to growl. A working dog should be the dominant dog, and Jax certainly fills that role,” said Nunn.
Support 365 Days A Year
The primary source of funding for the retired canine fund is the yearly Valley Retired Police Dog
Association calendars. The calendars highlight the phenomenal valley police canines and are available for only $10.00. The 2019 calendars are now available and can be purchased at participating agencies (Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Renton, and Tukwila). Several local businesses also have calendars available for purchase, including Cutters Point Coffee in Kent.
Another way to support the association is to register your smile.Amazon.com account for the Valley Retired Police Dog Association and shop on Amazon Smile rather than Amazon.com. Amazon will automatically donate money to the association. The association accepts direct monetary contributions through their Facebook page.
Over the years, the association has received continued support from several local businesses and individuals. Some of these include Reber Ranch, All Purpose Door Repair in Kent, J&D Hydraulics, Gosanko Chocolate, and the Strander family.
2019 Calendar Sponsors
Thank you to the sponsors of the 2019 Valley Retired Police Dog Association calendar. Please be sure to support these local businesses and organizations when choosing where to do business:
If your business is willing to keep calendars in stock to assist in selling them, the association would be very grateful. Contact the association via their Facebook page to make arrangements.