K9 Hero Pillows...
K9 Hero Pillows
I've had wonderful dogs all my life...dogs touch my soul. And I've felt the pain of having to help them Cross the Rainbow Bridge. I hope these pillows can help bring comfort to those who cared for, partnered with and loved these K9 Heroes!
Any Military, Police or Search & Rescue K9s who dies while still ACTIVE DUTY, I will do free of charge...WHEN I can receive confirmed contact information. Partners need only contact me at email@example.com to order their free K9 Hero pillow to honor their K9 Hero.
Retired Military, Police and Search & Rescue K9s, I charge $40. Family dogs are $50. These charges cover some supplies and priority 2-day shipping with $50 insurance. I do NOT charge for my time. This is a labor of love!
Note that pillows do not have to be done only of K9s who have passed. Many are tributes to living dogs.
Below are images of pillows I've made to date, along with stories of these K9 Heroes and beloved family dogs. Check back often to see new ones, added as they are made.
LIKE my Facebook K9 Hero Pillow Project page to see posts of the latest pillows as they are finished.
Holly, from We Ride to Provide*, sponsored this pillow for her husband, the Chief. Recently, they lost their beloved, retired LEO K9, Beau...a pound puppy turned LEO K9 Hero. Nina, who Holly calls Nina Banina, took over when Beau retired and she is now semi-retired. This pillow was a gift to Chief as a tribute to Nina's life and career.
Chief with his gift.
K9 Hero pillows of Beau Beau and Nina Banina
* We Ride to Provide gives sponsored emergency K9 first aid kits to
Retired LEO, Becki, sponsored this pillow for her fellow LEO who was partnered with K9 Hero Jag. Jag's career was cut short due to terminal cancer. K9 Hero Jag cross the Rainbow Bridge a few years ago. Read Jag's details and see several more photos or Jag and his partner, below.
This is another one just for me. I started fostering rescued collies late in 2016 and decided to embroider photos of each dog we foster and frame them to hang in our hallway. This is our second rescued foster, Meggie. Our first, Kyrie, was a cancer survivor. Both Kyrie and Meggie are now safe and living in wonderful, loving homes. It's very hard to let these fosters go, but sending them to loving homes means we have room (we also have our two permanent Goldens) to help save more collies in the future.
Loreen, founder and amazing artist of The K9 Hero Portrait Project held a raffle to help raise fund to cover the cost of painting additional K9 Hero Portraits. I donated a custom pillow to her raffle. The winner was Bobbie Kennett. However, in a very sweet move, Bobbie told Loreen that she was giving her prize back to Loreen's care and that Loreen should choose a worthy recipient of this prize.
At the time, Loreen was just finishing up a surprise portrait of LEO K9 Hero Beau that would be given to Holly and Chief, founder of We Ride to Provide...providing emergency care kits to K9 Officers to help ensure they survive wounds they might suffer in the line of duty, as well as being Beau's mom and dad/partner. Loreen was planning to present the portrait, along with a couple others, at a special tribute event honoring K9 Heroes lost in 2016. Loreen knew the recipient of this 'pay it forward' pillow should be Holly and Chief, to honor their beloved K9 Hero Beau. Loreen also knew it would be special to me because we have two Goldens who we love very much. She was right...I love all dogs, but I admit some are just a little more special to me. Beau fell into that group.
Be sure to scroll down to see more photos and read Beau's bio. This rescued 'pound puppy' became a Police Sgt. K9 Hero.
"Run fast and search wide sweet Beau...
"Thank you for the most amazing pillow for my baby!"
A new friend and I were chatting and she learned that I make these K9 Pillows. Her sister's beloved dog had recently passed, so she quickly said she wanted a pillow as a birthday gift for her sister. Recently Chase's pillow was given to Karen's sister Gail and she loved it. It makes me feel so good when those whose hearts are broken now have one of my pillows to hug or just comfort them as it sits on the couch or bed next to them...as their beloved dog used to do before it crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Scroll down to see that Chase's pillow will now provide that type of comfort for Gail.
UPDATE: Staci's other dog, Niko, saw the pillow on the dresser and took it to the bed to lay on it. Humans aren't the only ones who mourn. (Scroll further down to see a picture of Niko with Dakota's pillow.)
Staci received the pillow and posted this Thank You on Facebook.
Niko apparently finds comfort from the pillow, too.
Tracy purchased this pillow to help heal her own heart. Chyan lived with her for a short time before moving to his 'furever' home (see below for his detailed bio). But Tracy also would doggie sit for Chyan when needed, so she loved him like her own beloved boy and misses him very much. I hope hugging this pillow helps you feel a little closer to your beloved K9 Hero, Tracy.
UPDATE: Scroll down to see Gracie with her pillow...apparently she approves!
Many of you know Loreen, the amazing artist and founder of The K9 Hero Portrait Project. Her incredible talent honors K9 & Equine Heroes with beautifully realistic painted portraits. She's also my friend and she inspired me to start this K9 Hero Pillow Project. So this pillow of her doggie, Gracie Girl, who is her studio partner and ever present watcher, is my gift to her to honor her work and pay tribute to sweet Gracie, who is nearly 15 and alive and well for her age in Feb, 2016. Be sure to scroll down to read Loreen's bio for Gracie Girl.
This was a sponsored gift to Bill, Kyra's adopted dad, from Ruby. Sadly, Kyra pass, although she did get to enjoy a very loving retirement. Be sure to scroll down to read the touching story of Kyra's life and last day.
UPDATE: Scroll below to see CWD Mazzie with his pillow!
Mazzie is a 6.5 yr old German Shepherd. Linda says he's a bit timid, but the sweetest dog and they are thrilled to have him as part of their family. He is much loved and still enjoying a well deserved retirement in 2017. In fact, Mazzie has his own Facebook page, so you can keep up with this K9 Hero's life by liking his page here: https://www.facebook.com/cwdmazzie/
Enjoy your retirement K9 Hero Mazzie and thank you to all involved in helping save this K9 Hero from an uncertain fate! Also, thank you Linda for helping support Ruby's efforts for the creation of a War Dog Memorial in Colorado and for giving this Hero a loving home!
CWD Mazzie LOVES his tribute pillow and mom, Linda,
This one was just for me! At the end of 2016, I joined Collie Rescue of Greater Illinois. My first dog when I was a little girl was a collie that looked like Lassie. So I wanted to help out these wonderful dogs. My first rescued foster, who lived with us for a couple months until we found her a wonderful new "furever" home, was Kyrie. You'll notice her lower jaw is twisted. That's because she suffered from a rare form of oral cancer as a pup and had to have it and her lower, right jaw removed! So her jaw is crooked and her tongue hangs out...which makes her look adorable! Kyrie is alive, well and very happy in her new home with her dad and merle collie 'brother,' Stosh. So I decided I'd make framed embroideries for any collies we foster and hang them in our hallway...so we'll never forget any of them.
MWD Gabe needs no introduction to those of us who pay attention to the K9 Community, because Gabe made quite a mark in the world. Many will recognize Gabe as the 2016 Hero Dog of the Year. Partnered with SFC Charles Shuck, Gabe and Chuck were quite a team. Saving lives on the battlefield, as well as continuing to save K9 lives through Gabe's legacy site Gabe to the Rescue.
But what I personally feel is one of the most heartwarming things about Gabe is that he was literally a "Pound Puppy" who was rescued from an uncertain fate to become a lifesaving War Hero and Hero Dog of the Year. There are tons of photos I could share, as well as tons of details about Gabe and the fact that he has his own book, but I'll leave that to anyone interested, since it's very easy to learn all about K9 Hero Gabe by simply googling K9 Hero Gabe. But you can learn a lot by viewing Gabe's Hero Dog tribute video here: https://youtu.be/rKkRWDlwn0o
This pillow was a sponsored gift to SFC Shuck from Helen Grant. I was quite honored to make it since Gabe was my first personal connection to the Military Working Dog world by easily falling in love with Gabe. Sadly, Gabe passed not long after becoming the 2012 Hero Dog of the Year, but Gabe and his legacy will live on...forever! (Be sure to scroll down to see more.)
Gabe, the war hero
Gabe, the hero advocate
Gabe...smoozing with the legendary Betty White.
SFC Shuck accepting MWD Gabe's
Gabe, aka Pooh Bear, was also a featured hero by
Chuck recently received the K9 Hero Pillow,
UPDATE: See the photo of Gary, so happy to have his Erich pillow to hug and feel close again. He said, maybe now he can sleep!
As I've often said, ALL these K9s & dogs become very special to me once I get to honor them with my work, but there are some that do carry special significance and this is one of those. My brother was a Marine who was killed in Vietnam in 1966. So all Nam vets are extra special to me. (Be sure to continue scrolling to see all the photos.)
Gary sent me a note quite awhile ago asking...
I also learned that Gary is a Patriot Guard Rider (PGR), as am I since 2007. So, of course, this was going to be a free pillow, but it also did qualify as a free LODD (Line of Duty Death) because, disgracefully, K9s were considered "equipment" back then and were left in country to their fate or put down as they were considered too dangerous (a fact we know is not true with so many now coming home to retire in homes).
We chatted more about Gary's time in Nam and my brother's, as well as us being PGRs and although he offered to pay, I told him I would make his pillow and it would be free. His reply is why I do this!
Beau and Belle are alive and well. I made these pillows awhile ago, but they were Christmas gifts, so I had to wait to show them. Be sure to scroll down to see all the photos and Gail's details about these Boykin Spaniels, as well as see the pretty picture of Connie with her Christmas gifts, which Gail told me she just loves!
Nina and Romulus were two peas in a pod, but Nina passed away November 3rd, 2016 and Romulus is sad. Romulus is still alive and he is ten now. He is still mourning Nina's passing. This is the first time in his life that Romulus has gone without a companion. These pillows are a gift from Shyann to her dad. Please scroll down to see Romulus' pillow and also to read Shyann's details about these two beloved family dogs.
MWD Kevin and his "sister" MWD Jackie are still alive and mostly well in 2016, living with a loving retired military family. I usually combine the stories when I have two pillows together, but I decided these K9 Heroes each deserved their own listing. So be sure to scroll down to read about Kevin's career and see more photos, as well as view Jackie's profiles and additional photos.
MWD Jackie and her "brother" MWD Kevin are still alive and well in 2016, living with a loving retired military family. I often combine the stories when I have two pillows together, but I decided these K9 Heroes each deserved their own listing. So be sure to scroll down to read about Jackie career and see more photos, as well as view Kevin's profiles and additional photos.
Many of us who pay attention to the Military K9 Community knew about Coba as she was in retirement with Louisa, co-founder of Mission K9 Rescue. In late Fall of 2016 Coba suddenly was showing pain in her back. Louisa rushed her to the vet and we all held our breath that this K9 war hero would be okay. A few days later, we were heartbroken to learn that Coba cross the Rainbow Bridge! This pillow was a sponsored gift to Louisa from Judie Mindrum. Be sure to scroll down to read the details of Coba illustrious career, as well as more photos of K9 Hero Coba.
William came to Collie Rescue of Greater Illinois in 2011. Kim was the foster coordinator and went to evaluate him. But when their eyes locked, she fell in love with him and took him home with her. He lived happily with Kim and Brad until 2016 when he sadly passed away. Kim's friend, Cathy...also with Collie Rescue of Greater IL...sponsored this pillow to help heal Kim and Brad's hearts, as they miss William very much. As Kim says..."He was quite a special guy!"
K9 Thor died November 22, 2016 after suffering injuries while attempting an apprehension of an abduction suspect in a densely wooded area. Officers responded to a nearby motel after receiving reports that a woman who had been abducted was being held there. As officers arrived the abduction suspect, who was reported to be armed, fled into thick woods behind the motel. K9 Thor located the subject in thickets and was released for an apprehension. Members of the Connecticut State Police located Thor suffering from numerous cuts and internal bleeding. It is believed that Thor was kicked by the suspect or was injured in a fall. Thor was taken to a local animal hospital where he died after being reunited with his handler. The suspect was taken into custody. K9 Thor had served with the Wethersfield Police Department for two years.
Thank you for your courage and service to our country, K9 Hero Thor. Sincere condolences to his partner Ofc. Martins and the Connecticut State Police.
LEO K9 Klaus sadly passed away unexpectedly on November 28, 2016. He was a member of the Kenosha (WI) County Sheriff's Department. Klaus was active duty when he suddenly became ill and was rushed to an emergency vet. Klaus was diagnosed as having internal bleeding due to a mass on his spleen. Additional tests showed more masses on his liver. Very sadly, his partner Deputy Lanctot and the Department made the painful decision to allow K9 Klaus to cross the Rainbow Bridge. Klaus passes peacefully with his partner at his side.
(See more details and photos below...)
Anne from K9 Hero Haven sponsored two pillow of K9 Boris...one for them, Boris' retirement family, and one for Boris' former partner, who is also receiving his ashes.
Please be sure to scroll down to see details about Boris' career, words from his family and many more photos.
(More photos below...)
UPDATE: Ofc Harmon is now certified with his new partner, Igor. See a photo below...
I posted my offer for a free Line of Duty Death K9 Hero Pillow and Ofc. Harmon, Arres' partner, saw it; and, thankfully, he responded back to me. So I was able to obtain his favorite photo of Arres...playing in the snow. Below is the official notice of K9 Arres passing, but please make sure you scroll down further to not only see several more photos of Arres, but also read Ofc. Harmon's heartbreaking words to his pal, his partner, his hero.
April, 2017 Update
Winthrop Harbor is a community near my home. All K9/dog losses are sad to me, but I feel a special connection to those K9s who work near where I live. Thanks to Cmdr Bitton for personally replying to me via email with details so I could successfully honor K9 Lando. And it was especially hard hearing that Ofc. Bogdala's young daughter is taking Lando's loss particularly hard. I sincerely hope this small token helps Lando's family heal some.
CWD K9 Hero Nero was a retired war hero who had a rough life serving our country, but had a sweet, loving retirement with Judie, who cared for him and loved him deeply. He was special to me and many of my online friends, too. Judie was in the process of taking Nero for special medical treatment in the hopes to help him enjoy retirement longer, but he very sadly crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
Please see below for Judie's touching details of Nero's career and life. Many wanted to sponsor this pillow, but Carol Otto was first to request, so the honor was hers. Judie also adopted Jukon who previously passed. See his tribute and photos further down the page. And my personal thanks to Judie for being such a wonderful supporter of K9 Hero Pillow Project.
Rest in Peace, Nero...you served above and beyond!
K9 Bear was a member of the Kenosha (WI) County Sheriff's Department. Bear crossed the Rainbow Bridge while in retirement in September, 2016. Although I normally only donate free K9 Hero Pillows for Line of Duty Deaths, I personally sponsored this one because Kenosha, WI is a neighboring community where I can often be found. This one was somewhat personal to me. Rest in Peace, K9 Hero Bear.
Police K9 Hero Canon was a member of the Richland, MS, Police Department and partner to Ofc Daniels, and, of course, also a family member. Canon was still serving our country and the Richland community when he was strickened by a serious illness that ultimately took his life. Thank you K9 Hero Canon for your courage and service to our country. More photos below, including the official announcement from the Richland PD with details of K9 Hero Canon's career.
UPDATE: Read a bio of Miss Patty further below. And BRAVO to those who adopt older dogs to make sure they finish their lives with love!
Asha bid on my donated pillow for Mission K9 Rescue's recent auction and she won. But the donation was for one pillow and she has two sweet dogs, who she loves very much and so does her mom. So she paid for a second pillow and I created matching pillows as gifts for her mom. Nico's photo was grayscale, so I converted Layla's professional pink image to grayscale, too. Asha says these two own her heart and although Layla is apprently deaf...she KNOWS when someone opens a cheese wrapper. Yes, we dog lovers know how that happens! And yes, Nico Zayn and Layla Nikita are both alive and well...and very much loved.
I created MWD Grief's pillow in late summer (2016) and sent it off to Wayne, who held on to it for a time because he had a special card made that was being sent around the US to have it signed by all those whose lives were saved one fateful day in Afghanistan...thanks to MWD Grief giving his life to save so many. Grief's handler, Alfred (pictured below with Grief) explains that day in his own words further below. So be sure to scroll down to read more details and see more photos.
Loreen's beautiful portrait of K9 Hero Grief,
Alfred's Facebook post when he received his "Alive Day" gift.
Alfred is currently in the process of writing their book,
LEO K9 Ty from California City Police Dept, CA, died September 7th, 2016 from injuries sustained on Aug 3, 2016 during the apprehension of a suspect during a barricade. The subject was holding a woman and child hostage. Ty and his handler entered the home in an attempt to rescue the hostages. During the apprehension, the subject fell on Ty, breaking his back. Ty endured emergency surgery, but passed from surgery complications. LEO K9 Hero Ty Vom Friedrichsfelder Eck was trained in narcotics detection and criminal apprehension.
Ty's handler's goodbye.
CWD Chanel was born Jan 8, 2005. She was an MDD, a Mine Detection Dog. As a Contract Working Dog, Chanel served for 8.5 years. She was obviously very good at her job having been active duty for 8.5 years, a fact for which her adopted mom, Patty, greatly admired her. Chanel was deployed in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan, sniffing millions of square meters of mine-affected land, saving countless lives from death or injuries.
Chanel was brought back to the United States with the help of Mission K9 Rescue and the Department of State. She was adopted May 30, 2015 by Patty, who says...'Chanel was the light of my life. She was truly loyal and took to her retirement as best as she could under her health circumstances. She was a gentle dog. Everyone who met her fell instantly in love with her. I will miss her forever.'
Sadly, after all those years of courage and service to our country, Chanel didn't get a lot of time to enjoy her retirement as health issues plagued her body. Chanel's EOW (End of Watch) came at 4:30 pm on August 16, 2016.
She is still and will always be honored, respected, loved and missed by her family.
Chanel's pillow was a sponsored gift from Judie Mindrum to Patty. More photos below...
All the K9s and family dogs honored with K9 Hero Pillows are special. They are special to their partners and families and they become very special to me as I get to know their story and spend hours looking at their beautiful faces. But some do have special significance and Sirius is one of those.
I became online friends with Debbie Stonebraker years ago...an amazing artist specializing in dogs and particularly Labs. Through her, I eventually also became friends with David Lim, who was partnered with K9 Sirius. I was honored that Debbie allowed me to use her beautiful portrait of LEO K9 Sirius as the model for my sponsored gift of a K9 Hero Pillow to David to honor Sirius...the only LEO K9 LODD (Line of Duty Death) on 9/11 due to the towers collapsing.
It's hard to see the lettering in this photo, but the ribbon says WTC HERO. And, per David's request, the wording under Sirius' image is the inscription on Sirius' bowl, after it was recovered..."I gave my life so you could save others."
Read more and see more photos below...
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Port Authority Police Officer David Lim and his K9 partner, Officer Sirius, were patrolling the World Trade Center towers. Then terror struck. David put Sirius in his kennel, in their tower office, so he could rush to help. When the towers collapsed, Sirius became one of the many victims...and the only LEO K9 lost that day.
Law Enforcement Officers David Lim & K9 Sirius
Sirius' recovered flag drapped body
The memorial service for K9 Sirius
Debbie Stonebraker presenting her portrait of
David with Sirius' bowl, presented to him with the engraved words
David and Sirius with Bill Clinton
The sign on the NY dog run named in Sirius' honor.
I felt the need to sponsor this pillow myself. Not only because Utah was from our neighboring county in Illinois, but also because he reminded me of our sweet Lexi, a black lab who we lost to cancer, also at 13 yrs, in May, 2016. Here is Utah's story...
LEO Utah was an explosive detection Officer with the DuPage (IL) County Sheriff's Office. Utah, a 13 year old Black Labrador Retriever, passed away on September 7th, 2016. Sheriff John Zaruba says..."Utah was one of the rarest K9s the Sheriff's Office has ever had. K9 Utah was at one time the only Explosive Detection K9 in DuPage County. He spent his life protecting the citizens of DuPage County in and out of the DuPage County Courthouse until he retired in 2012."
K9 Utah was donated to the sheriff's office by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Utah and his handler, Deputy Ken Diebert, spent ten weeks in Virginia where the canine was trained and certified in the detection of over 19,000 different types of explosives. Utah's primary duty was the DuPage County courthouse where he and Deputy Diebert searched packages and vehicles. During his career, K9 Utah also searched public and private facilities for explosives, guns, bullets and other threats before visits from former President George Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton and many others.
"K9 Utah was a fantastic Explosive Detection K9, as well as the best partner anyone could ask for." said Diebert. "Utah crossed the rainbow bridge Wednesday, he will be sorely missed, but his presence will be felt in the hallways of the courthouse forever."
See their Thank You photo below...
Pepper was a much loved family dog who passed away in Sept, 2016 at the age of 14. His pillow was a sponsored gift from Katie, a family friend. They loved the pillow. Mom cried, dad couldn't stop staring at it and their young son just wanted to keep hugging it.
Sweet Eva has a heartbreaking story that turned out wonderfully for her in the end thanks to two loving people who gave this abandoned ol' lady a wonderful home, which allowed her to enjoy the rest of her life, happily.
In 2014 some piece of crap human dumped Eva in Philly. She was found tied to a post, starving! Eva, a Cane Corso dog, was old and severely underweight. The vet didn't give her much hope. But Jenny and Danny adopted her and gave her a wonderful home with lots of love, so she thrived until the fall of 2016, when she passed.
You'll notice on the pillow, which was a sponsored gift from Eva's (and her family's) friend, Jennifer Stinger, that there is an embroidered Phoenix. Jenny and Danny like to envision the white markings on Eva's chest as a Phoenix...because like the Phoenix, Sweet Eva also rose from the ashes...of her abandonment...to live on. So that was an important design element to include.
You can read Sweet Eva's story, and see many more photos, on Dogster: "An Abandoned Senior Dog Becomes a Hospice Foster Then a Family Member" She also had (has) her own Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Sweet-Eva-308418299315288/), where you can learn more about Eva. as well as thank her family for saving this ol' girl and giving her the love she deserved.
MWD Nora was a Marine who spent her career on US soil working as a Drug Detection Dog in California. When she retired, she became a member of the Mission K9 Rescue team as one of their beloved ambassadors. Sadly, Nora passed away from cancer on July 30, 2016.
I made two pillows to honor this Marine K9. One was sponsored by Louisa from Mission K9 Rescue, (the one with K115). When Louisa was in the Military, she was Nora's vet tech and loved this sweet girl. This pillow was a gift from Louisa to Nora's Military handler. The second one was a sponsored gift from Loreen, of The K9 Hero Portrait Project. That pillow was sent to Bob, who is also from Mission K9 Rescue. Bob was Nora's "dad," who cared for Nora in retirement until her passing.
(Word from Muffyn's mom...)
Muffyn Lyn Goodwin, August 2, 2002-April 25, 2016
Muffyn was by my side from 6 weeks old. She was the most loyal and loving little girl. I couldn't have asked for a better little girl to share my life with for almost 14 years.
She loved to ride in her convertible. She loved to roll around her backyard, sliding down the hill on her back. She loved her window seat where she would wait for mom and Pawpaw to come home from work every afternoon where she would 'sing' for us and greet us with her beautiful smile. She loved her dental treats, her mints, and dental chews. But her favorite treat was lettuce. She was a very regal girl, always sat with her paws crossed.
She wore tshirts from the time she came home, as she got cold easily. She would always get embarrassed any time you took her tshirt off, whether for a bath or just to change her shirt, she would run and hide until she was dressed again. She had the best personality. There will never be another Muffyn Lyn, but I think she would love the little girl I adopted in June, Willow Lynn.
Tate County Sheriff Deputy Brandon Finley and his partner, LEO K9 Furax, were quite the team. Then a bullet hit Deputy Finley in the head and both their lives changed drastically! Brandon spent years working on his recovery from tramatic brain injury and Furax was sold off to a man who only wanted him for security and pretty much left him tied up in a yard for six years. Furax was finally rescued by Mission K9 Rescue and the old dog, who was now mostly blind and deaf, was shown on their Facebook page in the hopes of finding Furax a good home in which to live out his years.
And as you can see in the additional photos below, as Louisa from Mission K9 Rescue told me, Brandon just kept touching the pillow, so apparently he loved it. I have offered to do another of just Furax, for free, if Brandon wants it. However, maybe he's now just happy to have his partner returned and the pillow of the two of them together is enough?
Maverick came to Jennifer's family after they discovered they couldn't have children. He was a wonderful, curious and smart puppy. So much so that he was brought to the hospital and counseling center with Jennifer every day to work for the first year and a half of his life. He was so popular and brought so many smiles to the staff and patients that they started researching the development of a pet therapy program. 2016 marks the second anniversary of the Beyond Words pet therapy program...designed to comfort medical and behavioral health patients, as well as their families and the staff treating them.
You can learn more about Maverick's inspired pet therapy program at this link: http://www.fhn.org/fhnTherapydogprogram-overview.asp
I'll be sending this free Line of Duty Death (LODD) K9 Hero Pillow to Amigo's handler as a tribute to this K9 Hero's life and service to our country. The hikers he rescued suffered 'minor injuries,' but Amigo paid the ultimate price for saving their lives. I HOPE they understand and appreciate this fact! (More details below...)
POLICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Line of Duty Death: K9 Amigo
"It is with deep sadness that the Kingman Police Department (Arizona) reports that K9 Amigo paid the ultimate sacrifice and has succumbed to his injuries.”
Amigo, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois and his handlers had been on a search for two hikers who needed rescue from the top of the mountain on Wednesday; both were found and treated for minor injuries. At the same time, Amigo started to show symptoms of heat exhaustion and was rushed to a local veterinary clinic. Later that evening, he was moved to a specialized veterinary hospital in Las Vegas where he had been improving, however the report came that Amigo suffered ” a sudden medical event” and died early Saturday morning.
“This is a very sad occasion. The bond between our handlers and their dogs is very strong and the officer is devastated by the loss. While they are working dogs, these animals also become a close and important part of the individual police officer’s family as well as the rest of the KPD family. Clearly, we have lost one of our own.” stated Robert J. DeVries, Chief of Police.
[Words below from the soldier who sponsored this pillow...]
"Jangles was an Australian Shepherd. Her owner, Whitney, got her when Whitney was 15 and the only time they where apart was when Whitney went off to college. But even after being gone, they never lost their bond. Jangles was very protective, never letting strangers get too close. When people came to the door, she was always the first to be there barking...letting any would be intruders know to stay back. Even after visitors were welcomed in, she always had a watchful eye...even if she knew you. She loved Whitney very much and Whitney loved her.
"Jangles got bit by a tick and got tick fever which destroyed her liver first, then her kidneys. Whitney did all she could for about six weeks. But Jangle's kidneys never recovered. She stopped eating and drinking. They were giving her IV fluids at home to see if it would flush her kidneys out enough to recover, but sadly it didn't work. Choosing to put Jangles to rest to end the suffering was a hard decision to make, but we knew it need to be made.
"Even though Jangles was not a working dog; to me, in so many ways, she embodied every meaning of the term GUARDIAN OF THE NIGHT. Jangles was 11 years old when she passed. Rest easy sweet baby."
Gracie is still going at age 15! She lives in Canada with her family. Renee and her family adopted Gracie when she was not quite one year old as a rescue dog. Gracie is a lovely dog who loves walks, car rides and watching football with her dad. Her family is so grateful to have her in their lives. They say she is absolutely adorable and she loves her family, too. They say they couldn't have asked for a better or nicer dog. Everybody in the neighbourhood loves Gracie, too.
And as you can see from some additional pictures further below, she looks great in glasses and hats.
Raven is my friend Debbie's dog. Debbie loves purple and she being a fellow Patriot Guard Rider, I wanted to make it special for her. Raven is still with us, but she's very sick with cancer. Sadly, Raven is also quite young. As Debbie explains..."Raven was diagnosed with lymphoma five days before her 4th birthday. She was given two weeks to two months to live. She's still here four and a half months later, but I can see the toll it's taking on her. She still has the spark in her eyes; and when I no longer see it, I will have a difficult decision to make."
This pillow was a gift to her from Judie Mindrum. Good luck, Raven! Hugs to you both...Debbie & Raven. (See Update below.)
Raven received her pillow 8/31/16...but very sadly, she crossed
Liam has recently gone through some very rough days. His family was devastated when they learned that he was very sick. Their friend, Becki, wanted to honor Liam, so she sponsored a pillow for him, assuming he would not be around much longer and she hoped this would heal the pain that his family seemed to be heading for when they throught they'd have to say goodbye to him. But Liam would have none of it. After surgery and more tests and more meds...suddenly he started to rebound! He's doing better now and we're keeping high hopes that his rally continues.
By the way, Liam "told" his mom that he thinks the problem was simply not enough steaks in his diet! <smile>
Good luck to you, Liam...we're rooting for you that you continue to feel better and stay around for a long time yet. Oh, and we hope your mom agrees that lots of steaks is very good for you! <grin> (More pictures below.)
LEO Cole was with his partner, Ofc Smith, working in Peru, IL at 2am when K9 Cole was suddenly showing signs that something was terribly wrong. Ofc Smith rushed him to a vet and then an emergency clinic as his condition got worse. LEO K9 Cole was suffering from 'mesenteric torsion'...a twisting of the intestines. Mortality for this terrible illness is about 100%! Despite efforts to save Cole, very sadly by 7am, LEO K9 Hero Cole had died.
LEO K9 Cole was a male German shepherd born in 2013. He had a nose for narcotic detection, but also training in pursuit, tracking and crime scene search. Cole entered service with Peru Police Department in 2014 with Ofc Smith. Cole was a replacement for LEO K9 Kali. Kali was a female Belgian Malinois who was also previously partnered with Ofc Smith. LEO Kali was killed in a squad car accident in summer 2013 while K9 Ofc Kali and Ofc Smith were responding to an armed robbery call on the north side of Peru.
Mesenteric torsion was once thought to be a rare condition, but evidence shows it occurring with increasing incidence and occurs more commonly in German shepherds. (See this link to learn more about Mesenteric torsion: http://web-dvm.net/mesenterictorsion.html )
I'd hoped to send a free Line of Duty Death (LODD) K9 Hero Pillow to Ofc Smith to honor K9 Hero Cole, but could not find much information. Then his sister-in-law saw my request and contacted me. Charity passed me photos of Cole, gave me a mailing address and then also told me how terrible Ofc Smith was feeling because this was the second K9 partner he'd lost in a couple years. I learned about LEO K9 Kali, who was KIA. So I knew I had to send him two pillows. I just could not honor K9 Cole without also honoring his previous partner, K9 Kali.
See Kali's pillow and learn more about her below: LEO Kali
LEO K9 Kali was killed in August of 2013. She was Ofc Smith's first partner. After her death, Ofc Smith partnered with LEO K9 Cole, who died from a sudden and terrible illness. Read about LEO K9 Cole here: LEO Cole
K9 Ofc Kali had been with the Peru, IL Police Department for two years when Ofc Smith and K9 Kali were responding to a robbery call at a mobile phone store. Their cruiser proceeded through a red light with lights and sirens, but someone apparently not aware broadsided them. Kali was ejected and died about an hour later at an emergency animal hospital. Ofc Smith was also treated and released for his injuries.
Kali was fully trained for narcotics detection, searching and tracking. Watch LEO K9 Kali's memorial tribute video and hear her EOW call here: https://youtu.be/xrcPRkSxjh4 (Have tissue ready!)
Every K9 pillow I make for a dog who has passed is hard because I have to try not to focus on the dog too much or I'd be crying all the time when dealing with a dog's death. But this one was extremely hard and caused me to choke up nearly the entire time I was making it. Not only because poor Tanner had to be put down due to fluid filling his heart just shy of his 4th birthday, but also because Tanner was my dog's, Tango and DejaVu's, littermate brother! I saw Tanner when he was a little baby when we were meeting our neighbor's pups to decide which one(s) would come home with us. We took Deja and Tango, Candy took Tanner home. We kept in touch as they all grew up. Tanner was the biggest pup and our Tango was the next biggest. Knowing that Tanner is no longer out there breaks my heart. Rest easy now Tanner...no more pain! <tears> (More pictures below.)
Misty is alive and well and living in The Netherlands with my long time friend and fellow Microsoft MVP, Hans and his family. This one was tricky because Misty has such soulful eyes...and as Hans says, "she knows how to use them." So I actually stitched this one out twice. The first time didn't do her eyes justice. Hans said it was okay, but I wasn't satisfied. So I fussed with the graphic image and got her eyes more defined, but that also messed up her actual colors a bit. However, now her eyes are better than my first try.
LEO K9 Maverick was a K9 police officer with the Topeka, KS Police Department. Very sadly, in early August, 2016, Maverick was working a training exercise, but soon after he suffered a seizure and was rushed to a vet. Tragically, this stunning K9 Officer died of a brain aneurysm. Condolences to his partner, Ofc Heusted. This free pillow will be sent to Maverick's partner/family in the hopes that it gives them some comfort to help heal the pain of Maverick's loss. You can read the complete department announcement below.
(Thank you to all who purchase pillows or donate, which allows me to make/send free pillow to K9 Heroes who are lost in the line of duty!)
I normally enjoy watching these K9 images stitch out on my machine, but this one was a bit hard for me because Roxie resembled our beloved Lexi, who cross the Rainbow Bridge a couple months ago. Plus, sweet Roxie is also fighting a serious health battle. So her friend, Becki, wanted to honor Roxie and help comfort her family with this K9 Hero Pillow. Family dogs may not receive medals for heroism, but to their families...they are heroes who help make life a wonderful journey. So to celebrate Roxie's "Happy Life," her family had a special doggie party (more pics below) to celebrate Roxie's life by showing her how special she is and for making their lives better because she's been in it. Good luck Roxie on the rest of your life's journey!
(You can keep up with Roxie's life on her "brother's" Facebook page, "Teddy the Spaz Man", it's a fun doggie page.)
UPDATE: Roxie's family received her pillow on 8/8/16. VERY sadly,
MWD Marco passed away in mid May, 2016. This pillow is a gift to his adopted mom, Donna, from her friend, Louisa, who helped deliver Marco to Donna, the mother of a handler. Sadly, Marco had to have his leg amputated before he got out of service, due to severely tearing ligaments in his leg. More sadly, after years of brave service to our country, Marco passed away from cancer after only a few months in retirement. Thank you for your courage and service to our country, Marco!
Marco in retirement...which sadly wasn't long enough!
This is one I really like, because LEO K9 Donar is alive and well and still working with his partner, Ofc Diaz.
Loreen, master artist of The K9 Hero Portrait Project, held an auction to help sponsor the portrait she'll be painting of France's LEO K9 Hero, Diesel, who was killed during the subsequent terrorist hunt after the Paris attack. To help, I donated one K9 Hero Pillow and one of my American Flag lapghans. Ofc. Diaz offered the highest price for these items and was the winner of my donations, benefitting Diesel's portrait project. (And I'm THRILLED and didn't realize that our names will now be on the plaque presented to France with Loreen's portrait!)
Thank you Ofc. Diaz for your generous donation for these items and thank you Ofc. Diaz and K9 Donar for your courage and service to our country. Stay safe out there!
See more photos and a bio of K9 Donar below.
His flag lapghan (isn't quite finished as of this writing),
LEO K9 Credo was a LODD (Line Of Duty Death). One June 28, 2016, LEO K9 Credo succumbed to injuries sustained during a SWAT call-out involving a barricaded suspect wanted in connection with an assault with a deadly weapon investigation. The subject opened fire striking Credo. He was rushed to a local veterinary hospital where he died of his wounds. The subject was who shot him was killed by return fire from officers on scene. Credo was a 4 yr old Belgian Malinois who served the department for 2 yrs along side his handler Ofc Mike Parcells. Credo worked Patrol & Narcotics and was involved in over 30 apprehensions.
Condolences can be sent to: Police Chief Robert G. Luna, Long Beach Police Dept, 400 W. Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802
Michael sponsored this pillow to surprise his wife, Anne, with this favorite image of their adopted LEO K9, Rakkar, who passed away in 2015. They run K9 Hero Haven. Rakkar was their own adopted K9. Rakkar was a Belgian Malinois who worked as a Police K9 in Ashville, NC from Aug 2006-Oct 2012. He was trained in narcotics detection, human tracking and apprehension. Michael and Anne adopted him in 2014. Rakkar was born 5/16/2003 and sadly crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 8/24/2015. He could always be found with his kong ball, he even slept with it in his mouth. LEO K9 Rakkar had a great work record and was a wonderful companion after retirement.
Many of you will remember MWD Rico from the touching stories of his final day and funeral in the summer of 2016. Rico was a Marine Sergeant K9 who served two tours in Afghanistan. He was part of more than 240 missions and survived some 30 firefights. Rico lived for 12.5 years.
When it was time for Rico to retire, his soldier/partner asked his parents to adopt him as the soldier was still serving. Danielle sponsored one pillow to honor her husband's partner, MWD Rico. However, when I read the stories of how close Rico became with the soldier's dad who adopted him, I knew I needed to donate a second pillow for the father. The dad, who was a retired Marine, was initially a bit concerned about adopting a military K9, knowing the dog had also been trained for security. But they quickly bonded. Both the dad and the soldier helped the elderly Rico to his final rest.
When it was time to make the pillows, Danielle and I agreed that I would make one red with gold lettering, to go to the soldier. These Marine colors (scarlet/gold) would honor their service together. And the more naturally matching black pillow would go to the dad, to honor their retirement time together.
Playa was a beloved family dog. Poor Playa had to wait some time to have her pillow made, since many Hero dogs became priority before I could make time to get to her pillow. And then I had to wait before showing these, since the pillow was a surprise from Playa's parents' mom. They loved the pillow! Details about Playa May below...
In 2016, MWD Lucas is 10 yrs old and is enjoying retirement with his mom, an active duty vet tech serving our country in Germany and caring for our K9 Heroes. In fact, that's how she and Lucas met. Sally cared for Lucas after meeting him in 2013. When Lucas was retired, Sally said she was "given an amazing opportunity to adopt him in 2014." They currently enjoy each other's company as Sally continues to serve our country in Germany. Sally says Lucas loves to play ball and go for walks with her.
In 2016, MWD Marine Sgt Tasli is 10 yrs old and enjoying retirement, since 2013, with his "girlfriend," Golden Retriever Gracie. Sgt. Tasli served one tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan with his partner and dad, Soldier "Erik." Tasli was part of the MEF III unit, explosive detection dog. Sgt Tasli was initially trained at Lackland Airforce Base as a puppy. He was a quick study and was soon sent to war. Now that he is retired, he loves spending time with Gracie. She helped him settle into civilian life, as he was very apprehensive at first to live in a home. Tasli now follows Gracie everywhere and they can be seen sitting close to one another wherever they may be. He is very protective of her and he is enjoying his retirement years. Be sure to look below for some great photos of Tasli (and Erik) serving our country and also enjoying his retirement. This pillow was a Father's Day surprise for Soldier Erik from his mom and Tasli.
CWD Narnia went to Iraq at the age of just one. She was then transferred directly to Afghanistan. Narnia's mom, Courtney, met her when she was five, in Kabul. Sadly, Narnia was suffering from PTSD and refused to work. Courtney also suffers from PTSD, so they formed an instant bond. The kennel master told Courtney that if she could get her out of the country, she could keep her. It turned out that there were six retired dogs that also needed a way home, so those involved managed to get them all out.
This one is a very special pillow and I was honored to make it. It was given to Ron Aiello, the founder of US War Dogs Assn. Ron was a Marine in Vietnam and a dog handler. He was upset about how war dogs were treated after their service, so he started US War Dogs Assn to help make sure MWDs (Military Working Dogs) are treated with the respect they deserve during and after their service and also to help with various care package, medicines, service awards and so much more. Ron is one of the best advocates MWDs have!
So when his wife, Judy, asked if she could sponsor a surprise pillow for me to make of Stormy to give Ron for Father's Day, I jumped at the chance to honor Stormy, his partner in Vietnam...just as Loreen Pantaleone, master K9 artist and founder of the K9 Hero Portrait Project, did when she painted a portrait of Stormy for Ron. She used B/W photos of Stormy from the era and created a color masterpiece. And good thing, because she sent me a digital copy of the portrait (below) so I could use it to digitize within my embroidery software to turn out a wonderful image of beautiful K9 Hero, Stormy. And Ron loves it. See further below for photographic proof. <smile>
CWD FEMA Sage served at Ground Zero after 9/11. She helped after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and also searched for missing teen, Natalee Holloway and even helped locate terrorists' remains from Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon. Sage and her partner, Diane, served together searching for missing soldiers in Iraq 2007-2008. After Sage's passing, Diane created the Sage Foundation, in honor of her partner and hero, Sage...to pay it forward to help other "Dogs Who Serve." You can find out more about the Sage Foundation on their Facebook page or at their web site: http://sagefoundationfordogs.org/ Special thanks to Helen Grant for sponsoring this pillow.
Most everyone in the K9 community will remember LEO K9 Bruno of the Anaheim Police Department. Bruno was shot, taking the bullets to save his partner, Ofc Young. Details went viral as Bruno went through surgery and pictures of him with a jaw brace were heartwrenching. But Bruno survived and it looked like he would enjoy his retirement. But after a time, Bruno became very ill due to complications from his injuries. When it was clear that Bruno would have to cross the Rainbow Bridge, I've been told that Ofc. Young asked the Vet to help him go while in the back of a squad vs in a sterile vet room, in the arms of his beloved partner. Special thanks to Helen Grant and Michelle O'Brien for their generous donations to sponsor Bruno's pillow, which will also help pay it forward to a future LEO K9 Hero.
MWD Sara passed away in spring 2016.
LEO Thor was MWD Barri's "brother"...both living with Krystal and, very sadly, both passing away within a short time of each other. Thor was battling cancer when his fight ended in May, 2016. Having two heroes lost in a short time, I knew I had to also memorialize Thor with a pillow after Barri's was finished.
Navy MWD, PEDD Barri passed away in spring, 2016. This pillow was made for Krystal, Barri's mom, as a gift from her friend Louisa.
On May 6, 2016, LEO K9 Viper passed.
All my dog pillows are special and each dog ends up in a special place in my heart once I've watched their faces appear to me on these pillows. But this one was unique because it was the first Vietnam K9 I've been able to honor. My brother was a Marine in Vietnam, who was KIA. All those who have served are special to me, but especially those who served in Nam and dealt with how this country treated them back then! Sadly, our Military Working Dogs were not treated any better then! They were simply considered "equipment." Most all were either put down after the war, assuming they were too dangerous to live out retirement with a family, or worse...most were left in Vietnam! (Breaks my heart!) This is the only picture that Veteran Gary had of his beloved partner, MWD Sinner. It was my honor to help pay tribute to this K9 Hero.
Gary sent me this wonderful picture and a very sweet and touching card, as well as a fantastic Vietnam Dog Handler Assn patch for my Patriot Guard biker vest. He was thrilled with his pillow "like a kid at Christmas" and gave me a very meaningful thank you.
To Gary...I'm so glad my work helped your heart heal some! Dian ~
LEO Gazza was a police dog in New Zealand who was shot in the line of duty. Thankfully, K9 Hero Portrait Project artist, Loreen Pantaleone, was able to obtain the mailing address, as well as Gazza's partner's name, so I could make a pillow to honor this Hero K9. Special thanks to Judie Mindrum, who donated to this pillow to cover the costly overseas shipping costs. (News report below pictures.)
Buddy's mom, Tracy, provided his bio...(below the pictures)
I flew to Lackland AFB to adopt Buddy on April 15, 2010 and flew him home with me. My son is a graduate of the Air Force Academy '08 and his roomates father is a pilot with Continental Airlines. He helped make sure that all airports we flew into knew that they had a veteran onboard and to treat him with respect. I live in Michian.
It took about 4 months to bring him around to get the hint he did not have to work any longer. When I first brought him home, I remember that he sat down in the garage in front of a shelf unit and would not budge to come indoors. What had happened was that my son had left some ammunition on the shelf and Buddy was still on duty, trying to alert me to his "find". I have 2 other dogs when he entered our home and it was these 2 who taught him how to play and just be a dog. Buddy's favorite way to play was to roll onto his back with all 4's up in the air and wait until I or anyone else would come and rough house with him a bit.
Buddy was diagnosed with two cancerous masses. One was in his Pancreous and the other was around his heart causing him breathing difficulties. With the progression of time, Buddy's back end and hips became more and more an issue for him. At the end he could stand only for short amounts of time and would fall without warning. The cold weather played havoc on his breathing issues. I had to make the decision to end his suffering on Dec. 29th, 2012.
Buddy was the dog that some dog people refer to as my "heart" dog. He captured my heart and he had eyes that seemed to peer into my soul and touch me in the deepest parts of my heart. He was my constant guardian and protector, ever on duty and always at my side. I have lost many pets over the years but the bond and the loyalty that he showed me is something I have never experienced before. He has left an enormous hole in my heart that constantly aches to see him, hug him and be at his side. I only pray that I was worthy of his devotion and the incredible love he gave me. The thought that helped my aching heart is that he is now totally healed. No longer in pain. He can run and run to his hearts desire. But the one thing I am SURE of is that Heaven has a new angel guarding its gates and that one day we will be reunited because our time together on Earth was much to short.
Becki from the K9 community saw my pillows and sponsored three, one each for some of her good friends. This is CJ & Dallas, buddies and beloved members of the family. This was also my first doggie double pillow.
Becki's gift to CJ & Dallas' mom arrived safely and she LOVES IT!
Becki from the K9 community saw my pillows and sponsored three, one each for some of her good friends. This is Osiris, a beloved member of the family.
Becki from the K9 community saw my pillows and sponsored three, one each for some of her good friends. This is Molly, a beloved member of the family.
After chatting with the soldier about Cody & Karma (#22 below), I learned that he's a wounded soldier currently residing in Bethesda with his Service K9, Chevy. Once I learned this, I just had to offer to make a free pillow for him of his service K9, which he happily accepted. This is Chevy, a Service K9 Hero, watching over and helping his wounded soldier.
A soldier requested and paid for two pillows of his family dogs as a surprise for his wife. (Yes, I edited out Cody's tongue. This was a favorite picture, but he asked if I could modify it, which I did.)
Binkie was Officer McClelland's first partner, whose ashes now reside in a memorial in their home. Binkie was a Mal/Mastiff. I love his name. I love his name, kinda like calling the big biker...Tiny.
LEO Binkie was flown in from Germany and graduated the NAPWDA K-9 academy in 2003. Binkie worked for the City of New Lexington, OH, from March 24, 2003 until January 1, 2007. During this time Binkie assisted in seizing narcotics, tracking and apprehending wanted suspects, assisted with barricaded suspects, and performed demos for the public. On January 1, 2007 Binkie transferred to the Marietta (OH) Police Department where Binkie worked until he fell ill in August of 2007. On January 1, 2009 Binke passed away due to his illness.
If you attended the 2016 Police Magazine Convention in Las Vegas, Robby and Matt were part of your security team.
At age 2, K9 Robby, a Belgian Malinois, came to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in April of 2009 from Holland. Once he arrived, Robby began his training as one of the department’s bomb dogs; his training also covered criminal apprehension and patrol work.
On Tuesday, March 15, during a veterinary visit, doctors determined that there was a mass in his throat which was inoperable.
K9 Robby was partnered with Senior K9 Specialist Deputy Max Anderson who served his country as a Security Police K9 Officer in the United States Air Force for 16 years, and after retirement joined the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in 2013. During their successful partnership at The Richland County Sheriff’s Department, K9 Robby’s primary responsibility was the safety and security of thousands of people during large public and private events. K9 Robby’s astonishing career also included capturing a number of criminals attempting to evade law enforcement. Just last week Team Robby and Max, while working patrol, assisted in capturing a thief who had stolen a motorcycle, and also captured a home invasion suspect.
RIP K9 Robby EOW 03-16-16 — Miss you buddy!
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department stated that in lieu of flowers, that donations can be made to provide vests to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department K9 Unit in the name of K-9 Robby. You can forward your support to the Richland County Sheriff’s Foundation, PO Box 1182 Columbia, South Carolina 29202.
MWD Quick is currently deployed (as of April 2016) in the Middle East with his soldier. He learned about my pillows through the US War Dog Facebook group and asked for a pillow to honor his partner. It'll be sent to his mom until they both return home safely! His shipping costs were covered by a donation from a friend who loves MWDs and also works with Veterans. Here's a little info about Quick from his soldier...who said the pillow is AWESOME.
(It's a bit hard to see, but Zorro's pillow is on dark, brown/redish faux fur.)
You may remember Ofc Hickey of Marietta, OH, who fought for (and won) adoption of his partner Ajax versus having him auctioned off. This is Boyd, his previous partner who was retired and living with Ofc Hickey and his family. A good friend of theirs was kind enough to reply to my K9 Hero Pillow request and also furnished me with a wonderful bio to learn about Boyd.
These were my personal gifts to wonderful neighbors of two Goldens who I love and were also the first human and K9 friends we met when we moved here in 2010. I love seeing Maggie and Lucy taking their daily walk by our house. But now they are both 11, having been together since pups. Sadly, Maggie is now blind and Lucy is suffering from bone cancer that is taking its toll on her teeth. Bill & Linda are the type of neighbors everyone wishes they had, so I felt the need to honor their sweet girls with pillows.
CWD Rico passed away in March, 2016. Rico was born Jan 2004 and served in Iraq working contracts with Baghdad Embassy Security Forces and TWISS. His handler was Darrian Parham, American K9. He served with the Army and Marines at Camp Prosperity. Rico retired and lived with a family who loved him very much. He was a Tervuren, a Belgium Sheepdog. The pillow itself was made using donated black faux fur. (And, although the photo makes the pillow look quite large, it was approximately the same size as all the pillows I make for our Hero K9s.)
MWD Chef was a "Navy man," which is why his mom asked that his name be in blue, a color I had been using for LEO K9s. Plus, she said he always looked good in blue. I'd also recently been gifted with a bunch of faux fur fabric, so I gave it a shot at his mom's request. It was a little trickier to handle, but it worked out well and was well worth the extra effort. And now she can "pet" the pillow as well as hug it. Chef passed away awhile ago in retirement.
SAR (Search And Rescue) K9 Anna passed away several years ago. But her mom/partner saw my pillows and commissioned one to honor Anna. Anna was one of the brave SAR K9 who worked Ground Zero just after 9/11. Anna helped locate a couple of Firefighter victims. Very sadly, Anna became a 9/11 victim about 10 months later when she passed due to illnesses she acquired from working at the site.
LEO Aren worked for the Port Authority of Alleghency County Police Dept, PA. Aren was stabbed to death while trying to apprehend a criminal on Jan 31, 2016. Thankfully, I saw an address for Condolences, so I was able to make this pillow to send to Aren's partner/family.
LEO Kobus was a Police K9 for the Omaha Police Department. Kobus was KIA in January 2016. The Omaha PD finally replied to my plea for contact info and sent me Kobus' partner's name and mailing address, so I was able to make a Hero Pillow to honor this brave K9 and mail this pillow to his family.
Jukon was a Patrol/Explosives dog for the US Air Force. Bak's family (Bak was another MWD who passed, see below) commissioned this pillow for their friends and fellow retired Hero K9 family...Jukon's family.
This one wasn't a war dog or a police dog...this was a beloved childhood family dog. A mom saw my pillows and wanted a special gift for her grown daughter. She always called her pet "Chomper Dog." Her mom said, she cried when she saw her gift! It was a hard picture to do because Chomper was so dark. But blue shading did help, although it didn't show up well in the pictures
Sadly, although I've made several attempts to contact handlers of the many K9s KIA or passed to date in 2016, only Jethro and Jojo's family replied, so I haven't been able to make more Hero Pillows to honor more K9s. Since I had time, I decided to make a wall hanging for myself of my favorite picture of our pups...to show off what my machine and software can do. I'll soon frame this image of my pups. Although I hope to honor K9 Heroes, I do know that, although all dogs may not be heroes to our country, many are heroes to their families.
K9 Sheriff Officer Jojo was from San Bernardino and was involved with the search in the aftermath of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. However, very tragically, while Jojo was training with his partner, he choked and died in January, 2016. His partner tried desperately to save Jojo, but was unable to clear his throat. Jojo's police department successfully replied to my Facebook request to honor him. So this pillow was sent off to his partner in the hopes it helps a bit for his heart to heal.
In April, I received this very nice Thank You card from JoJo's Family.
Emir was a Military Hero who was in retirement and actually passed awhile ago. But his "brother," Uli, who not only trained with Emir at Lackland, but also ended up in the same retirement home...recently passed. When more than one K9 Hero lives in the same home, it's only fair to make sure their family has pillows for all who have passed. So I just made this pillow to honor Emir. Their mom said that she will display both Emir's and Uli's pillow at Uli's Military K9 Memorial in March/2016.
Lakota was a police officer K9. A few years back, he and his partner were involved in a terrible crash that literally cut their cruiser in two! Lakota suffered several terrible injuries, but surgeries saved him. However, he had to retire, which he did...living with his partner, who also survived the crash. Lakota was nominated for Law Enforcement K9 of the year. Sadly, he passed away at the end of 2015.
Uli was a military dog who was in retirement with his Army veteran mom. Age started to take his health and he very sadly passed in February 2016. Emir (further above) was not only his "brother in training" but also lived together in retirement. Both their pillows were displayed at Uli's memorial help at their local VFW in March 2016.
Bak was an MWD who was in retirement with a loving Army family. In February, 2016, he became very ill and was rushed to the vet. Although they tried hard to save him, he very sadly passed. Bak was known as a ball-aholic, so even his hero portrait was painted with balls at his side. So, rather than using his official military photo, I found a perfect shot with his beloved tennis ball.
"My family has a tactile reaction to hugging the Bak pillow you made. It is REAL. The release of pain is REAL. You have NO IDEA how your talents and kindness heal them. Thank you."
Jethro was a Police Officer K9 who was killed in the line of duty, January 2016, while trying to apprehend a criminal who severely wounded Jethro. He passed away the next day. So sad...his funeral was the day of what would have been his 3rd Birthday.
Shortly after Carlos, Alik's "brother," passed away from age and several illnesses, his "brother" at home with Ruby's family, Military Working Dog Alik suddenly became ill and passed only a few months later. This second loss was an obvious blow to his family.
When I was first learning about military dogs, I discovered Carlos and a Facebook plea to help pay for his much needed surgery. I made a donation and eventually became friends with his retirement owner, Ruby. Carlos was one of the most special K9s to me and it hurt a LOT when he finally succumbed to his health issues. You can see a video of Carlos' Hero Dog Award video here: https://vimeo.com/81285780
Carlos was my first pillow attempt.
I started making a few "lace" embroidery items as gifts for friends. They became very popular. Many people started asking how they could purchase some. So these items can now be ordered. ALL funds from these items go directly back into the K9 Hero Pillow Project and help allow me to give free pillows to families of K9s killed in the line of duty.
What are "Lace" items?
These are designs that I machine embroidered on "water soluble" stabilizer. After the items are stitched out, they are run under warm water. The stabilizer dissolves leaving just the threads in the stitched out design. Once dry, they become a bit stiff. They can then be sewn on items or glued with hot glue or crazy glue. As you can see in this photo, I glued a patriotic heart to my old purse. The crazy glue works nice, as it is absorbed into the threads so it is no longer seen versus hot glue which can leave glue clumps visible.
They can also be rewetted and reshaped, if needed. However, do NOT dry them on a paper towel, as they will stick. Use cloth, such as a pillow case. Something without fuzz or paper.
How can I order some?
If you would like to purchase any of the lace items (shown below)...
Once payment has been received, I will start your project as soon as possible. If you need them by a specific date, be sure to add that information in your order request, because K9 Hero Pillows are priority on my machine!
These items are currently available. New items may be added in the future.
Check back in the future to see what new lace items I've added.