During the fall of 2017, one of Jonesborough’s police dogs was retired due to development of Degenerative Myelopathy. This meant that the town was down to one canine and, as a result, had limited coverage by this valuable asset to the Department of Public Safety. In addition, in the spring of 2018, there were two incidents in Jonesborough where a K-9 would have been valuable – one where no appropriately K-9 was available to help and one where we were able to borrow a dog with the needed skill and, as a result, a successful happy ending.
As a result of these occurrences, a citizen of Jonesborough organized a committee of citizens and key Jonesborough employees to discuss the possibility of raising funds to obtain additional K-9’s and support the K-9 program for the town. The name “Paws In Blue” was chosen and we went to work developing plans to raise funds.
The first opportunity to raise money was during Jonesborough Days, an annual festival held by the town during the 4th of July holiday period. Members of the committee set up a booth to provide educational information about police K-9s, provide information related to a planned event and to raise funds by donations. The sewing group at the Jonesborough Senior Center made “Doggie Scarves” which were available for a donation. As a result of participation in this event, we raised nearly $2000.
In September of 2018, the committee held its major fundraiser, a canine competition. Prior to the event, area businesses had jars strategically placed where customers made donations. The day before the event, there was a “Celebrity Bagging at the local Food City grocery store. A local television celebrity, the Chiefs of Police and Fire departments, the Mayor, Aldermen and police officers all participated.
The major fundraising event was a police canine competition with vendors with dog related items and food trucks. Nine area police dogs representing five area police and sheriff departments participated. Areas of competition included an article search, hardest bite and fastest dog. This event raised nearly $5,000.
Loki, an 8 year old chocolate lab, has been with the department since the beginning of his career and is trained in tracking, article search, obedience and narcotics detection. In October, Paws in Blue set up a display during the National Storytelling Festival. Again, we provided educational information and raised funds by donations to support the Department of Public Safety K-9 program.
- Our second addition is Cygan, a 2 year old Belgian Malinois Shepard mix trained in apprehension, explosives detection, building clearing, area searches and tracking.
- Our newest member of our canine corps is Nero, a Dutch Shepherd who has been training with his handler Tammy Ray in Michigan. There was a Welcome Home event in early June.