SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — A new cemetery and garden for K-9 officers has been unveiled in Shreveport.
The University Veterinary Hospital Foundation held a Project K9 Rest unveiling ceremony Friday morning at the Shreveport Police and Fire Training Academy on Greenwood Rd.
The UVH Foundation also presented officers with a custom SPD K9 flag.
Owners of University Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Adam and Catherine Foret created the UVH Foundation on the principle of people helping pets that ultimately help people.
Dr. Adam Foret said, “As much as we are in the pet business we are in the people business. From developing a nurturing and caring team, to educating responsible pet ownership, to supporting the needs of the families that care for their four-legged loved ones, to helping local pet centered nonprofits, the UVH Foundation is making a difference in our local community.”
UVH Foundation’s Dr. Catherine Foret said, “When we began caring for the SPD K9s we found out that the K9Rest was not in good condition. It was obvious that this was our next project. Overnight Project K9 Rest was born.”
The UVH Foundation contacted Jody’s Lawn Team and they got to work with an amazing design that will allow the cemetery to respect those that have been lost. The design is one that will allow for future growth and is very low maintenance.
When someone asked Jody Sepulvado, owner of JLT, why he was a part of this project he said, “because it is the right thing to do.”
The cemetery will have a beautiful paved area with a bench and flag pole. The 10 K9 officers that did not have headstones, will now have proper headstones.
The UVH Foundation held a fundraiser dinner at Don Juan’s Baja Tacos, where they sold SPD K9 unit bracelets and decals that were designed for Project K9 Rest. They also held a big online fundraiser of shirts and hats and monetary donations that were accepted at www.uvhvets.com.
The Forets said the project was fully funded following generous monetary and supply donations totaling over $19,000.
During fundraising for the cemetery, it was brought to Drs. Foret attention that the SPD K9 officers work every day without lifesaving equipment. They knew that had to change.
They were also proud to report that all 9 K9 officers had personalized ballistic protective vests. A huge “vesting” ceremony was held at The UVH Foundation’s annual Run Like An Animal 5K in Jan. 2020.
The Forets were also able to contact companies and secure donations of medical bags and Narcan kits for each officer to have. The UVH veterinarian team trained each officer on how to use this equipment.
Sgt. Dan Sawyer said, “It is awesome to have so much support from everyone. Our dogs are going from completely vulnerable to completely protected thanks to the kindness and support of The UVH Foundation.”
Drs. Foret and The UVH Foundation continue to support the training of the SPD K9 Unit and recently funded a $5,200 training seminar at the SPD with Skidds – SWAT K9 Interaction During Deployments Seminar.
This was a 3-day, 30-hour course held locally. During this course, the handlers and K9s were educated and trained on the deployment of a police dog in a high-risk/tactical operation.