K-9 Brek and K-9 Dex–four-footed members of the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD)–looked as proud as a German Shepherd could in their new bullet-proof and stab-resistant vests. They were on campus at Foothill College in Los Altos on June 12 to demonstrate their crime-busting police dog skills.
Their new K-9 ballistic vests, made in California and costing $1,286 each, were a gift of the Foothill College Student Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) and a matching grant from the Cover Your K-9 Program of the Police & Working K-9 Foundation, an all-volunteer nonprofit (www.coveryourk9.com). A K-9 medical trauma kit for each dog was also donated.
As a thank you to the Foothill College Veterinary Technology students, two SCPD K-9 handlers brought their dogs to campus. Each K-9 is trained for a specific role, and Dex and his handler, Officer Craig Shapiro, demonstrated a suspect apprehension. Brek and his handler, Officer Jerry Ogg, did an explosives detection demo. A K-9 can also be trained to detect, for example, drugs or cell phones in jails.
“Whenever we get a donation to protect our K-9s, we’re always grateful and appreciate it,” said SCPD Public Information Officer Dan Moreno. “K-9s are a vital part of our patrol division.”
The matching funds from the Cover Your K-9 Fund were raised by Pet Food Express. Over one July 2016 weekend, Pet Food Express donated $164,000 from the sale of dog washing tokens and customer donations at its 62 California locations.
The 2017 Pet Food Express Cover Your K-9 fundraiser is the weekend of July 15 and 16 at all store locations (www.petfoodexpress.com). Customers can buy dog washing tokens for one time or enough for an entire year and have the entire amount donated to Cover Your K-9.
The weekend is also an opportunity to meet K-9 teams and talk to their handlers. More than 100 police departments will be participating. SCPD K-9s will be at the Campbell location, 1902 South Bascom Ave.
Cover Your K-9 also provides heat sensor alarms for patrol cars carrying dogs and medical care for retired K-9s. The program rotates around Northern California, donating K-9 safety equipment as needed to police departments.
“What’s inspiring to us is the amazing amount of support we get from the public every year to help keep out K-9 teams safe,” said Louise Tully, Police & Working K-9 Foundation President and Co-Founder in 2009. “It’s super inspiring.”
The two-year Foothill College Veterinary Technology Program (www.foothill.edu/bio/programs/vettech), accredited in 1977, prepares students to be Registered Veterinary Technicians. It is one of only six public school veterinary technology programs in California. In June, 29 students graduated from the program, and a new class begins in July.
“Foothill College is the only community college teaching veterinary technology in the Bay Area,” said program director and instructor Lisa A. Eshman. “We pride ourselves on our good faculty to student ratio and hands-on learning experiences.”
Foothill’s Student Chapter of the NAVTA has so far donated four vests to the Cover Your K-9 Program.
“I am very proud of our students and program,” said Eshman.