The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department recently announced that K9 Hola has been awarded a Healthcare for K9 Heroes grant. It is being provided by the same organization that donated body armor for Hola in March.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit is also continuing its Healthcare for K9 Heroes medical insurance program for 2023, which covers annual policy premiums. Since 2016, the charity has donated over $307,404 towards medical reimbursement programs for self-funded K9 units.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office is among only about 14 such K9 healthcare recipients across the country in 2023.
The Healthcare for K9 Heroes grant is awarded to departments that have shown they have the financial burden of raising funds to support their K9 unit, have no more than three K9s, and have previously been awarded a vest through Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. Law enforcement dogs ages two through seven are eligible. The annual medical reimbursement insurance policy, administered by Trupanion, will cover each dog’s illnesses, injuries (including those sustained in the line of duty), diagnostic tests, and therapies. The plan also allows the freedom to use any licensed veterinarian, specialty center, or emergency hospital in the United States.
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Hola’s body armor includes a bullet and stab protective vest. It is made in the United States, custom fitted, and NIJ certified. It is embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.”
It is not the first generous donation to help make Hola’s K9 career possible as late last year Tree Town Kennels LLC in Forest City offered her hand selection and personal training. Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Klein, a master training of law enforcement dogs, owns the business and worked closely with Hola to prepare her for duty. His donation was estimated to be worth nearly $10,000.
Hola is an affectionate Belgian Malinois that was imported from Poland. She began her training last September and joined the force later last fall.
A Hancock County K9 fund accepts public donations because of the ongoing need for things such as continued training, nutritional support, medical care, and equipment costs associated with the dog. No donations for the K9 program are used for salaries or any other budget items of the department.
Law enforcement K9s are used to locate missing persons and fleeing criminals, to protect their handler and other officers, for narcotics detection, and numerous public relations programs such as meeting with school students and staff and community groups.
Trupanion is a leader in medical insurance for cats and dogs. It offers the injury and illness coverage for working and service dogs - both on and off duty. For nearly two decades, Trupanion has given pet owners and working dog owners peace of mind so they can focus on their dog’s recovery, not financial stress. According to a news release, Trupanion is honored to support the nation’s brave K9 heroes and is committed to providing the highest value in medical insurance to help them receive the best veterinary care.
In addition to the healthcare reimbursement program, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided more than 5,043 law enforcement dogs with protective vests in all 50 states, at an estimated value of over $6.9 million dollars. Tax-deductible donations are accepted by mail at Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718 or online at www.vik9s.org.