By Devese “Dee” Ursery
Collinsville Police Department’s K9 unit is conducting a fundraiser to show support for a charity which has always supported the officers.
The unit is offering Collinsville Police K9 supporter t-shirts and stuffed versions of Rocky and Odin, the two K9 officers for the department. Funds raised from the sales of the merchandise will support the Hawthorne Animal Hospital Angel Fund, which provides free medical care and food for K9 officers in the Madison, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties.
Trent Ross, Collinsville police officer and Rocky’s handler, explains why he and Officer Dylan Madron, Odin’s handler, are involved with the fundraiser and why it is so important.
“The reason we wanted to help them is one, because it’s a great cause and two: they are a great asset to us,” Ross said. “They provide free medical care and food to not only our two dogs, but also K9 officers for the Litchfield, Alton, Pontoon Beach, Troy and Glen Carbon Police Departments”
Ross said that they wanted to give back to Hawthorne because they are always there for all their K9 needs and questions, especially Dr. Amber Spaur.
“She was a huge helper to us and our K9 partners, he said.”
According to Ross, the stuffed look-alike dogs were made by Hero Industries, based out of Corona, California. He said they were great to work with and paid close attention to detail. They made a custom patch from the police department’s patch and put it on the back and put the dog’s name on the front.
Hero Industries helps organizations create not only unique items but a line of merchandise that sells year round helping clients raise millions of dollars for their respective causes. Hero’s main focus is on first responders, government agencies and corporate clients.
The fundraiser started in mid October of 2022 within the police department and then in mid November information was released to the city of Collinsville.
”Last week (Dec. 22, 2022) we did a city wide Facebook post to let the public know of the fundraiser,” Ross said. “All proceeds made from the sale of the merchandise will go directly to Hawthorne’s Angel Fund program.”
Dr. Paul Myer, a veterinarian and owner of Hawthorne Animal Hospital who has performed life-saving treatments for many animals, explains how the Angel Fund got started.
“We started it to help give back to the community. We raise funds and people donate money to help take care of the K9 officers in the area,” Myer said. “ We also help with wildlife up there at Treehouse Wildlife Center and we help out some of the animals in the area that need help.”
Through the Angel Fund, the Glen Carbon pet clinic works with several police departments in the area by providing cradle-to-the-grave veterinary care to their K9 officers. Each of the dogs also receive free vaccinations, emergency care, monthly flea and heartworm prevention and prescription food.
In addition to caring for K9 officers, the Angel Fund also helps in the recovery of injured wildlife that are brought into the emergency vet clinic by Treehouse Wildlife Center, a non-profit rescue and rehab center in Dow, Ill.
Ross said that the goal is to sell everything. The low end goal of the overall donation should be $5,000, he said. “As long as we make a profit and sell out of everything we will be able to donate at least $5,000 to Hawthorne’s Angel Fund,” Ross said.
If anyone has interest in purchasing the stuffed dogs or t-shirts or simply wants to support the fundraiser should contact either Officers Ross or Madron at the Collinsville Police Department.