WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

MONSON — Paws 4 Blue K-9 will host its second annual Police K-9 Fundraiser on Saturday, July 20 — with a rain date of July 27 — at Westview Farms Creamery, 109 East Hill Rd., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

President Jan Garabedian said, “We have stepped it up this year with a lot more dogs and also different kinds of K-9s.”

She continued, “Last year was all apprehension dogs which are the ones that find narcotics, catch criminals and find missing people. This year, we have those kinds of dogs again they’re called dual purpose as well as bomb explosive dogs that will be there and comfort dogs.”

Festivities include police K-9 and sport dog demonstrations. Attendees will get a chance to meet police K9s Marvin (Amherst Police Department), Sampson (retired Ware Police Department) Flexx (Springfield Police Department), Apache (Belchertown Police Department), Reuben (Longmeadow Police Department) and sport dogs Shiva and Grim. They will also enjoy Christmas in July Craft Fair, raffles and Interskate 91 will bring K-9 Marshall from Paw Patrol. All the proceeds from this event will go into the organization’s Buddy Foundation to help provide grants to K9 teams. Their target goal for this fundraiser is $10,000.

Paws 4 Blue K-9’s mission is to help K-9 teams from agencies that do not have an allocated budget signed to the K-9 program which is funded by donations. Garabedian expanded the mission to include retired police dogs as well. She told Reminder Publishing when a working dog approaches retirement, they lose any benefits they may have had. They typically retire because of their age, and older dogs just like your own pets will have medical issues at some point. This is where Paws 4 Blue K-9 can help.

The inspiration behind Paws 4 Blue K-9 is from a K-9 named Buddy. Garabedian met him in 2014 when the Palmer Police Department implemented the K-9 program. K-9 Buddy served the department for six years. His skills helped solve missing or wanted persons. He was trained in patrol work which included handler protection, narcotic detection, evidence searches and suspect apprehension. In February of 2021, K-9 Buddy retired and in September of that year, he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and died on April 1, 2022.

Since then, Garabedian has been on a quest to help K-9 teams raise the funds they need. She realized how many teams are out there that do not have a budget for police departments, and they are running on donations. For several years, Garabedian has been doing fundraising and now she realized she needed to expand that, so she started her own business. To keep Buddy’s legacy alive, Garabedian formed Paws 4 Blue K-9 and created the Buddy Fountain in the fall of 2022 in K-9 Buddy’s memory. This is where K-9 teams that need help can come to apply for funds for emergency medical expenses, essential equipment, and training.

Garabedian’s goal for Paws 4 Blue K-9 is to be able to help other K-9 teams nationally, have the funds there to help anyone that needs their help and be successful. She would love for folks to be more knowledgeable on why these dogs are so vital to the police department. They can do things that human officers cannot do.

“These are highly trained working dogs, and their skill set is amazing,” said Garabedian. “Particularly their sense of smell. When you’re looking for a person that’s lost, every second counts.”

She went on to say, “We would like to be able to educate the community about the canine program, how it operates, and what they need.”

To learn more about Paws 4 Blue K-9, visit their website at www.paws4bluek9.com. For more information about the fundraiser, email info@paws4bluek9.com or call 413-519-0381. You can also mail donations to Paws 4 Blue K-9 at P.O. Box 101, Palmer, MA 01069.