If you’ve ever wanted to see a police dog in action, but don’t want to go to the trouble of committing a crime, come out to Collision Brewing (1436 Skyway Dr.) in Longmont on Sept. 6 for a dinner to benefit the Friends of Boulder County Sheriff K9 Association (BCSK9).
“It’s our biggest event of the year,” said Deputy Kelly Boden, a veteran K9 handler for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and one of the Niwot organization’s founders. “This time, we wanted to up-the-ante a little bit, and have a sit down dinner, including entertainment.”
That entertainment includes live music and the comedy stylings of Vinnie Montez, a commander at the BCSO, who moonlights as a stand-up comedian. The Colorado Avalanche mascot Bernie the St. Bernard will also be in attendance. Of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without a demonstration from one or two of the guests of honor.
“Scout, our bloodhound will be there for sure,” Boden said. “We’re trying to get our german shepard, King, out their as well.”
These dogs may be having fun at the fundraiser, but their day-to-day life can be a lot more serious. Boden recounted a typical day with her K9 partner Halo, a Belgium malinois. “She puts on her little work collar, loads up in the back of my Tahoe and we go to work. We work our normal district calls, traffic enforcement and if there's any calls for K9s, we would go to that.”
These specific K9 calls range from fleeing criminals to drug searches. Police dogs jump in and out of cars multiple times per day and participate in a lot of physically wearing work but Boden knows that “they love it.”
While these four-legged deputies get their fair share of perks, unfortunately, a 401k and generous health insurance are not among them. BCSK9 was founded in April 2017as a 501(c)3 organization in order to help owners and handlers with expenses not otherwise covered by the BCSO.
“Dogs require medication while working and while in retirement for things such as arthritis, which can be very costly.” Boden also mentions that “there’s no retirement fund for our dogs.”
The BCSO was hesitant at first to support the BCSK9, and Deputy Boden suspects that's because they didn’t want it to look as if they are “going out and begging for money.” This sentiment changed when an emergency arose with one of the dogs and used up the BCSOs K9 budget.
According to Boden, it is also getting more and more expensive to procure and train crime-fighting animals, so her organization also provides supplemental funding for the BCSOs existing K9 staff.
“The price has gone astronomical… Right now the price is around $8,000 to $10,000, and since 9-11 that price has increased, and increased, and increased,” Boden said, adding that the price also increases for pre-trained dogs. Otherwise, K9 partners are trained at a 14-week camp with its handler, another expense that can be hard to absorb.
Currently, the four-legged staff at the BCSO is down to its lowest level in years. According to Boden, they department currently employs about half of the canines they normally do, thanks in part to some of these financial challenges.
For more information about the upcoming dinner and silent auction at Collision Brewing (1436 Skyway Dr.), or for additional ways to support Friends of Boulder County K9 Association, visit bcsk9.org. Tickets are $45 for adults and $20 for kids 8-15. Dinner is free of kids 7 or younger, with the purchase of an adult ticket. Sponsorships are also available. On Nov. 1, BCSK9 is participating in Charity Challenge Night with the Colorado Avalanche. A portion of each ticket sold to that night’s Avalanche/Dallas Stars game will be donated to the organization.