Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is Project Paws Alive?

Project Paws Alive is a Georgia non-profit organization working to save the lives of Police K-9s and Domestic Pets by (1) providing K-9 ballistic vests to law enforcement/military units, (2) providing K-9 First Aid Field Trauma Kits to law enforcement/SAR/military units, (3) providing K-9 First Aid Field Trauma Kits to law enforcement/SAR/military units, and (4) providing first responders agencies (Fire, Rescue, EMS, etc) with specialized pet oxygen recovery mask kits.

2. How much does all this cost?

Each K-9 vest is custom-built using high-end ballistic material and costs $1100 – $1400 depending on the size of the K-9 and specific agency equipment requirements. Each law enforcement agency has different requirements and the final total cost is reflective of those customizations.  Full oxygen recovery mask kits are $150, K-9 cooling vests are $200, and K-9 first aid field trauma kits are$350. Each of these items is specifically designed and ordered to meet specific agency needs, and K-9 size where applicable.  While the cost of these items is rather high, we think you will agree that a price cannot be placed on the lives they save. We donate only the highest quality equipment to ensure a long duration of usability and to ensure this equipment holds up to the stress and use they will encounter on a daily basis.

3. Is it worth the expense? After all, they’re just dogs and pets, right?

Law Enforcement K-9s are not just dogs. Police K-9s are highly trained, intelligent, and specialized. Most of them hold multiple certifications they must certify for yearly. As law enforcement becomes increasingly dangerous, agencies are relying more and more on the agility, versatility, speed, stamina, and senses of Police K-9s to protect officers and citizens. Given the substantial investment of time and money in each dog’s training and care, and their contribution to the success of law enforcement, it makes sense to protect them as they serve our community. Trained Police K-9s can cost anywhere from $20k -$50k depending on their breeding, training, specializations, and health care costs. The investment in a protective vest and field kit greatly expands the duration of the K-9’s life and ultimately reduces the costs most agencies could incur if the K-9 is injured or killed on duty.

4. Does a dog or cat really need an oxygen mask? Can’t they just use the normal masks used by most fire and EMT?

No. If you have pets then take a look at the oxygen masks your vet has. You will notice that they are of different shapes and widths to be used depending on the species and size of the animal.  Larger dogs need a different mask than smaller cats. Birds, smaller animals like hamsters, and reptiles (yes we said reptiles) require much smaller and longer masks. The variations go on depending on the specific animal but the main point is that a human oxygen mask does not work on animals because they do not fit, and therefore do not provide the required oxygen. First responder agencies are typically not permitted to spend funds on equipment not designed to save human lives. Because these first responders cannot use equipment that is not on their truck, they are often left with little to no options to save the lives of domestic pets that have suffered from smoke inhalation, or pets that need to be resuscitated after losing consciousness from exposure to dangerous toxic fumes.

5. Oxygen masks can be used on pets other than dogs and cats???

Yes!   The Oxygen Mask Kit we supply is the highest end kit that comes with 3 different size masks that can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and more. These durable polycarbonate masks feature dual vents and a rubber mounted 22mm oxygen adapter enabling unrestricted inhalation and exhalation of air.

6. I am a K-9 handler; how can I request a vest for my unit/canine?

Units and handlers should refer to the Request Equipment page for information about requesting vest and/or first aid field trauma kits. First responders should also use this link to request pet oxygen recovery mask kits for their agency. Please note that all requests are screened and verified. You must be part of a legally recognized first responder agency to be considered for one of our campaigns/fund-raisers.

7. My local Police department doesn’t have a K-9 unit. Where does my donation go?

Police departments which do not have a K-9 unit receive coverage from another local, county, or state K-9 division. If your donation is not enough to sponsor the entire cost of a vest for your local K-9 unit, then your donation will be combined with other donations from your area until enough funds are received to provide a vest. The same process is followed for the K-9 first aid field trauma kits.

8. How much of my donation will actually go to Project Paws Alive?

Project Paws Alive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and will receive 100% of your donation. In addition, all donations are tax-deductible.

9. What is my donation money used for?

Donations go primarily towards purchasing the equipment that is then donated to a qualified first responder agency or department. We do not provide agencies with cash.

10. Can I determine which item my money goes to, or which agency?

Yes. If your donation covers the cost of one of the three items we provide you can tell us which item(s) you want your money to go towards and which agency you prefer as well. Covering the entire cost of an item also makes you a sponsor and depending on which level you qualify for (determined by donation amount), you will receive the relative level of recognition.  Sponsors always have the right to remain anonymous if they prefer.

If your donation does not cover the entire cost of an item, you may still provide us with your requested item and agency of choice however we will set aside the funds until we receive enough to cover the item from other donations. When the total amount is received the item will then be donated to the respective agency. Please note that we will not be able to provide a timeframe for when items will be donated if the cost is not covered in full at the time of your donation. Because each item is custom ordered and we rely on donations, we have to wait until the total amount of the item is collected before we can place an order and provide estimated times of delivery. If you wish to be advised when the final delivery is made, please let us know and we’ll be happy to accommodate your request.

11. I can’t donate cash; do you accept donations of anything else?

Absolutely!  For more details please visit our How You Can Help page. Project Paws Alive uses a lot of stamps (for fund-raisers and other mailings), and also accepts donations of office supplies, gift cards, and items that can be sold or auctioned off to raise funds.

12. How else can I help?

The How You Can Help page provides information about all the various ways you can contribute to our organization. For example, Project Paws Alive is in need of grant writers and marketing communications specialists to donate their services; interested parties should contact admin@projectpawsalive.org  for more information. Spreading the word about our cause is also a big help. Come visit us at our fund-raisers, follow us on our social media sites like Twitter and Pinterest, or even “like” us on Facebook. All these actions help to bring awareness to the cause and contribute to our fundraising efforts. Last but certainly not least; you can sign up to volunteer with Project Paws Alive. We can’t be everywhere at once, but we sure do make a larger impact through the generosity of time that our volunteers provide.

13. I’m in school, what can I do?

Depending on your situation you may be able to help lead one of Project Paws Alive’s fundraising drives at your school, church, or in your local community. Groups needing community service hours can also participate. If you are interested please contact admin@projectpawsalive.org  for more information.

14. What if I don’t live in Georgia?

Project Paws Alive is based in Georgia, however we raise funds to provide life saving equipment to agencies in need nationwide. We are teamed up with great organizations throughout the US and we accept donations on their behalf through a fund sharing arrangement. We can assist you no matter what state you reside in. Please contact us via our Contact page or send an email to admin@projectpawsalive.org  for more information.

15. What is my commitment if sign up to be a volunteer?

Our volunteers are notified each time an opportunity arises that requires volunteers. Project Paws Alive will provide all event details for your review in advance. If you have the ability to participate as a volunteer we request that you RSVP “yes” to that event.  If you are unable to participate simply RSVP “no” and we’ll notify you on the next event. We respect your time and privacy.