K9s are invaluable assets to law enforcement; however, after they retire and are adopted, their former departments have little to no dollars that they can allocate for their care while they’re living with their adopted families. When possible, it’s typically the K9’s former handler and partner that steps up to take the K9 in, and along with that selfless gesture they also assume the financial responsibility for any costs incurred as it relates to medical bills.

For anyone familiar with a pet and veterinary care, it’s no secret that these bills can quickly add up, especially in the event that catastrophic care is required. Veterinary bills for surgeries and other unexpected procedures can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars range without blinking an eye. That’s where the Angels for Animals Foundation steps in.

The heroic journey of a New Jersey Police K9 named Judge, who was laid to rest in February of 2015, inspired the Angels for Animals Foundation (a 501c3) to launch the Guardian Angels K9 Fund to support medical procedures and treatments exclusively for police and military dogs. The Guardian Angels K9 Fund is designed to help pay the animals back for their sacrifice and service by covering their medical care bills so that the burden does not fall on their adopted families. This also includes care that they may require while on active duty as well as end of life procedures.

K9 Judge served his community with the West Deptford Police Department in New Jersey for seven years. When K9 Judge was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, his medical bills exceeded $12,000 in specialist medical care, the cost of which required his handler, Corporal Mike Franks, to ask his community for fundraising help. The Guardian Angels K9 Fund is meant to assist service men and women, like Corporal Franks, and K9 heroes, like Judge, during these kinds of urgent, unexpected times of need. K9 Judge was laid to rest on February 20, 2015, surrounded by nearly 100 fellow human and K9 officers, who lined the road to honor Judge with a final salute. The Angels for Animals Foundation honors his memory today with every dollar raised.

“Our K9 officers serve our communities and risk their lives in the same way that our bravest service men and women do,” said Mark F. Magazu, II, Founder and Chairman of the Angels for Animals Foundation. “Like our human protectors, K9 officers are subjected to gunshot wounds, shrapnel from explosive devices, bone fractures and life‑threatening internal trauma resulting from perpetrator physical assaults. The costs for this type of care can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars range, often exceeding the funding capabilities of handlers and departments. The Guardian Angels K9 Fund, if successful, will help ensure these canine heroes receive the medical care they need to return to health.”

The Guardian Angels K9 Fund is now focused on raising money to cover the extensive medical care bills for the retired Police K9 named Aron and his handler, Officer Adam Ziegler. Two years ago, Deptford Twp K9 Association’s K9 Aron played a major role in the rescue of a lost 9-year-old autistic boy in East Greenwich, NJ. Deptford Twp K9 Association Officer Ziegler and K9 Aron trudged through the mud where the boy was stuck and Ziegler, as well as others who were involved in the search, pulled the boy out of the mud before he drowned in Mantua Creek. The Gloucester County Board of Freeholders and the Gloucester County Police Awards Committee presented K9 Aron and Officer Ziegler with a Life Saving Award with Valor.

Recently retired, K9 Aron was diagnosed with several severe medical issues including two large tumors in his abdomen and spleen. Officer Ziegler, whose family adopted Aron after retirement, covered the expenses of a lifesaving splenectomy, which cost over $4,600, when the Deptford Twp K9 Association was only able to budget $1,000 for the operation. The Guardian Angels K9 Fund wants to honor Aron for his loyal service to the Deptford Police Department by raising money to cover his medical expenses.

To donate to the Fund, simply text the word “GuardianK9” to the number 41444, followed by a space and then the amount you would like to donate. Donations can also be made online at www.BeMyAngel.com/Guardian.