We may be the ones taking the late night phone calls about emergency care, but we are only able to do that thanks to your generosity. The families of our Heroes can rest better at night knowing they won't have any undue hardship giving their dogs the care they require, and they can focus instead on giving them the love and devotion they deserve.
With your help, we can add more retired Police K-9s and Military Working Dogs to our program to give them the support they need for medical costs, food, rehabilitation, rehoming, and death benefit assistance. Once they've retired, the government does not provide for them, and many of them are left without the relief they need to live comfortably after their faithful service. But YOU can change that!
It costs, on average, $4,000 per year to care for one K-9 Hero. Sometimes, when they require major surgeries or other life-saving procedures, it can cost much, much more. If you donate a few cents a day, you will make a huge impact in the lives of these K-9 Heroes. For far less than you would pay for a daily cup of coffee, you could bring comfort to a retired K-9 Hero in need. Please donate today!
With your help, we can add more retired Police K-9s and Military Working Dogs to our program to give them the support they need for medical costs, food, rehabilitation, and death benefit assistance. Once they've retired, the government does not provide for them, and many of them are left without the relief they need to live comfortably in retirement. But you can change that!
It costs, on average, $4,000 per year to care for one K-9 Hero. Sometimes, when they require major surgeries or other live-saving procedures, it can cost much, much more. If you donate a few cents a day, you will make a huge impact in the lives of these K-9 Heroes. For far less than you would pay for a daily cup of coffee, you could bring comfort to a retired K-9 Hero in need. Please donate today!
Read this touching testament from K-9 Joker's Family. Joker saved his Handler's life by taking a bullet for him in the line of duty. Shortly after he retired, complications from his surgeries caused Joker severe back pain and he is currently fighting to walk again.
November 16th, 2023
"Recently, we took Joker out for his usual ride around town in our truck. Typically, Joker likes to hop in by himself but waits for us to help him down out of the back of it. But in the usual Joker fashion, he decided he wanted to do it on his own before we could get him. It’s about three feet off the ground and when he hopped out, he made a sound and favored his front leg. He kept walking and playing after that like nothing was wrong. Fast forward a day or so and his back legs began becoming increasingly uncoordinated when he was walking and he had pain in his leg/hip area. We notified his vet here and started him on several meds that have helped before when he has done this.
That Monday morning (November 13th), we woke up and Joker was unable to walk with his back legs and had pain. We immediately took him to his neurosurgeon at University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, where they did an MRI, showing exactly what we had feared. His spinal cord was compressed with the other part of the vertebrae that was left from his first back surgery.
The only option for pain relief and the potential to walk again was surgery so that’s what we did. He had a seven hour surgery on that Tuesday (November 14th) that they feel was successful in the pain relief aspect. He had no hardware placed in his spine, so he is more fragile now.
We will use an assistive device/sling to help him in and out of the house. With his determination, he’s going to find a way to recover. We will devote everything we have to helping him and keep him with the best quality of life possible.
We would especially like to thank Project K-9 Hero. There were never any questions asked about the cost of anything with Jokers' care.
I can’t describe to you what that feels like when you retire your K-9 who not only wrecked his body for the job he did for years but, in his case, took a bullet that was meant for officers.
Once they are no longer actively working, every bit of their care - annual vet appointments, food, surgeries - all of it belongs to the handler...unless you have Project K-9 Hero.
Their kindness and support of a service dog that they didn’t even KNOW has not only eased the financial burden for us but ensures that Joker will receive the best care and attention he deserves in his golden years. "
-K-9 Joker's Handler
UPDATES ON JOKER AS THINGS DEVELOP:
November 27th, 2023 -Joker was starting to display movement in his back legs, but unfortunately suffered a setback. His face is now paralyzed. He's going back to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (UT) for emergency help and an MRI.
November 29th, 2023 - Joker went through another 7-hour surgery, where disc fragments were located in his spine and removed. He's awaiting neurological testing.
November 30th, 2023 - The MRI showed no signs of a tumor or stroke in Joker's brain. The gel was removed and replaced in his back, and the place compressing his spinal cord was repaired. The doctors say he may never use his back legs again, but his facial paralysis should resolve with time. His family is looking forward to getting him home, where they plan to give him the best care possible while he recovers.
December 4, 2023 - Joker is at the local veterinarian due to irregular breathing that required an immediate check up. His family is awaiting culture test results from UT to see if he has an infection. Medications have improved his current situation and he's awaiting a post-op visit at UT in the coming weeks.
December 10, 2023 - Joker has been getting better and seems to be regaining some functions, like bladder control. There is no movement in his legs yet but his family has been working on his range of motion at home daily. He seems to have felt his handler's touch to his back paws, so there is some hope!
K-9 Joker served as a Dual-Purpose Patrol/Narcotics Detection K-9 with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office TN, for seven years. On September 22nd, 2021, K-9 Joker was tragically shot in the line of duty while tracking and attempting to apprehend an armed auto burglary suspect. Joker sustained a gunshot wound to his face and head area during the incident, which left him in critical condition.
After receiving intensive care for almost three months, K-9 Joker was able to return back to work in December of 2021. However, lingering affects from the critical incident left him with progressive medical issues concerning his back. This required an additional surgery, and led to him being medically retired on May 25th, 2023.
On July 1st, 2022, the State of Tennessee passed “Joker’s Law,” which states that anyone in Tennessee who knowingly assaults a Police K-9, or any police animal, could face up to 30 years in prison. This is much needed change to our legislation that Joker was instrumental in establishing, to benefit generations to follow.
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