Project Paws Alive’s Mission:
To provide K9 stab & bulletproof vests and other vital K9 protective equipment to underfunded Law Enforcement, Fire, Search and Rescue, and Military K9 units nationwide.
Project Paws Alive was established in 2012 when we heard about a series of Police K9 deaths that could have been prevented if the K9s had been wearing protective ballistic vests while on duty. In the same week, local news covered a house fire in a neighboring town wherein the family pets’ lives were saved only due to specialized pet oxygen masks that were donated to the local fire house.
In conducting extensive research, we found that almost all government-run first responder agencies (police, sheriff, fire, EMS, rescue, etc.) do not have the funds to cover such equipment. In many instances these agencies are prohibited from spending funds to purchase equipment that is not “for use by humans”.
Due to budget cuts and other economic issues we also learned that 92% of all K9 units are run solely on donations. In almost all cases, the handlers must personally pay for their K9 partner’s needs which includes medical, food, grooming, training, certifications (and required yearly recertification), and safety equipment such as K9 protective vests, K9 First Aid kits, K9 cooling vests, K9 heat alarms, K9 working dog boots, etc. Many people assume that because the K9 is an officer of the agency then the K9 must therefore get all the equipment it needs to be protected and that the agency pays for all its expenses. This assumption is entirely false. We quickly saw the gaps these K9 units face and found that there are no other non-profit organizations in existence that are working to provide this depth of protective K9 equipment items and at the level of quality these K9s need nationwide.
Being life-long pet owners, we were also struck by many first responder agencies lack of equipment for domestic pets during fire/smoke/chemical emergencies. We couldn’t imagine losing one of our own pets to smoke inhalation just because our fire department didn’t have the proper oxygen mask kits designed to specifically fit pets. We learned that this is not standard equipment for these agencies as it is considered “non-human” equipment and if its not on the truck, then they can’t use it. Unless donated most first responder agencies do not have these kits.
We believe all Law Enforcement, Fire, Search and Rescue, and Military K9s should be afforded the same lifesaving protection as their human partners. These highly trained K9s dutifully protect and serve us every day and we believe they should be protected in return.
Our purpose is to raise funds to provide agencies in need with the equipment they need: K9 protective vests, K9 first aid field trauma kits, K9 cooling vests, K9 vehicle heat alarm pro systems, K9 working dog protective boots, and specialized Pet Oxygen Mask kits. Because these items are highly specialized, state-of-the-art, and “best available” professional equipment, these items are quite costly. Many of them are “Military Grade” to ensure the best possible quality and are proven to last for years. We also believe in quality over quantity when lives are at stake. Therefore, all equipment provided by Project Paws Alive is professionally made by licensed companies to meet all state and federal regulations and is purchased directly from the manufacturer. We do not make or assemble any items such as “home-made” K9 first aid kits. Project Paws Alive will only donate professional grade equipment certified by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the National Institute for Public Safety (NIPS).
Project Paws Alive is also the only non-profit providing equipment to first responder agencies that has an active equipment advisory board composed of current and active-duty law enforcement, fire, search and rescue, EMS, and Military K9 handlers as well as public safety directors and veterinarians. Our advisory board is constantly evaluating the equipment, quality, and tactical level out in the field to ensure that we are providing the best available equipment we can purchase. The best feedback available comes directly from those using the equipment on a daily basis throughout the country. Because our Advisory Board will never have a manufacturer representative on it, we maintain a truly unbiased approach to the equipment provided.
Each custom fit protective bullet and stab-proof vest costs on average $1400 depending on the size of the K-9 and any required agency equipment requirements, oxygen mask kits are $150, K-9 field trauma kits are $350, and K-9 cooling vests are $230-260 depending on K9 size and material selection. K9 vehicle heat alarms with full options including extended dual band paging and the “No K9 Left Behind” technology costs between $2,500- $4,000 depending on the make, model, and year of the vehicle.
These costs are not achievable by the limited budgets of many agencies or those run on donations alone. This is why we need YOUR support to help provide this vital equipment. Your donation is an investment in your community.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, your donation is 100% tax-deductible. No donation is too small, and certainly no donation is too large! There are over 400 agencies nationwide currently requesting this type of equipment and the wait list grows every day. Most equipment needs to be replaced every 3 to 5 years. Please consider making a donation to Project Paws Alive. You will be making an investment in a truly worthy cause and helping to save lives.
Project Paws Alive is 100% volunteer run.
If you are unable to make a monetary donation, please consider supporting us through an alternate method of helping by clicking on our “How You Can Help” tab above.
We greatly appreciate your support.