Some police K-9s need ballistic, stab-proof vests. Other working dogs need medical expenses taken care of after they retire. And some civilian dogs just need a new forever home. Whatever the case, there are a variety of specialized non-profit organizations that are eager to assist canines in need.
Whether you’re looking to donate or just wanting to learn more about how you can support a non-profit, here is our roundup of the 10 best organizations that help dogs.
The mission of Brady’s K9 Fund is to supply state-of-the-art ballistic and stab-proof vests to police dogs in need. While the jobs of K9s are important, not every police department has the funds to vest their dogs. Brady’s K9 Fund donates LOF Defence Streetfigher vests—a customized body armor that protects the dog’s vital organs, helps prevent heat exhaustion, and allows the K-9 to maintain mobility and work drive.
Fun Fact: The CEO and founder of this non-profit is a supercool 11-year-old fifth grader.
Since 1998, the National Police Dog Foundation has helped underfunded police departments purchase K9s as well as financially assist with the high-quality training of a department’s police dogs. As police K9s suffer a lot of wear and tear while working, this organization also offers assistance with the veterinary bills of active and retired police K9s. In fact, they have a network of veterinarians that include some of the nation’s best specialists in canine care.
Fun Fact: Did you know it can cost up to $25,000 to purchase and train a police dog?
From reuniting military working dogs with their handlers to assisting retired K9s with issues stemming from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the Mission K9 Rescue is all about serving retired working dogs. Even working dogs that don’t have designated handlers are eligible to receive care from this non-profit organization. In fact, Mission K9 Rescue will prepare a working dog for adoption and find it a perfect forever home.
Fun Fact: Mission K9 Rescue is the first and largest working dog adoption organization in the U.S.
Founded by veteran Mike Ritland, the Warrior Dog Foundation aims to transition working dogs from operational active duty to retirement in the civilian world. Many military working dogs and police K-9s are trained to be aggressive and have a bite history—not qualities an average person is looking for in a dog. As such, this non-profit provides mental and physical rehabilitation and rehoming services to help these elite dogs transition into home life and prevent them from being euthanized.
Fun Fact: Founder Mike Ritland served the United States as a Navy SEAL for 12 years.
Some dog breeds are misunderstood. They have off-the-wall energy, have a penchant for biting, and need a more intense purpose in life than solely being a human’s companion. Throw Away Dogs Project rescues breeds like German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois and trains them to become police K-9s. Once the dogs have received training, this non-profit organization donates them to underfunded police departments in need of K-9s. It’s a win-win for the dog and the department
Fun Fact: Prior to starting the organization, founder Carol Skaziak worked for Northwest Airlines. Her final year with the airline was spent flying with the NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles, as Northwest was the official airline for the team at the time.
Military working dogs and police K-9s are heroes, just like their human counterparts. It’s the vision of Project K-9 Hero to ensure that retired working dogs are rewarded for their service with exceptional healthcare and the peaceful lifestyle they deserve. K-9s accepted into the project will have up to $3,000 a year in general medical expenses and all food costs covered. The organization also has an emergency fund to cover any unexpected surgeries that exceed each working dog’s annual monetary allotment.
Fun Fact: Founder Jason Johnson actively works with the United States Congress to pass the K-9 Hero Act, HR #5081, which would enable the Department of Justice to assist with the medical expenses of retired government working dogs
According to the Retired Police Canine Foundation, approximately 10,000 police K-9s retire each year. Once a K-9 retires, the police department is no longer obligated to take care of the dog. Unfortunately, K-9s don’t have a pension like their human partners. The Retired Police Canine Foundation aims to lessen the financial blow associated with taking care of retired K-9s, especially when it comes to their hefty veterinary bills.
Fun Fact: Prior to launching Retired Police Canine Foundation, founder Tina Geraci took care of New York Police Department’s K-9 Chief, one of the first K-9 Units post-9/11 to patrol NYC’s subway system.
Not all dogs who are bred to become military working dogs make the cut. Many of them are deemed unsuitable for government work after undergoing some training, and are eventually adopted out to the public. The Mal-FFunctions Organization targets Belgian Malinois that are bred specifically for the Department of Defense’s working dog program but wash out of training. The organization assists with rehoming these dogs, making sure they find a loving forever home.
Fun Fact: The name of the non-profit—Mal-FFunctions—pays homage to the Department of Defense’s method for identifying the litters of puppies bred for its military working dog program. Each litter is identified by using a letter of the alphabet in pairs, i.e. AA, BB, etc. Each puppy in the litter is named a corresponding name starting with the double letter, i.e. AAndrew, AAlexander, AAustin.
Operating out of Rochester, New York, BrightStar German Shepherd Rescue is an organization dedicated to saving the lives of German Shepherds. All BrightStar dogs live with foster families in order to become better socialized, trained, and learn to live with loving families before being placed in forever homes. Potential adopters are screened extensively to ensure the German Shepherds will receive the best quality of life and be sure the new owners will remain committed to the dogs.
Fun Fact: According to the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd is the second-most popular breed in the United States.
Belgian Malinois make for some of the best police K-9s due to their incredible energy and drive. But these same qualities make it difficult for this breed to thrive in an average dog owner’s home. As such, many Belgian Malinois who live civilian lives are given up by their owners. Operating out of the West Coast, Woof Project specializes in rescuing Belgian Malinois and matching them with forever families.
Fun Fact: Originally bred in Belgium as herding sheep dogs, Belgian Malinois are now favored for narcotics and explosive detection, suspect tracking and apprehension, search and rescue, and military operations.
If you would like to make a difference in a police K-9’s life, please go to our donations page or click on the button below. We’re grateful for every donation, and no contribution is too small.