Non-profits come together to help K-9 Jojo “feel a whole lot better” in retirement.
K-9 Jojo retired from the Union County Sheriff’s Office in Union, South Carolina in October of 2018. At that time, her handler, Officer Russel Vinson, noticed that the K-9 had troubling symptoms and took her to a veterinary specialist. Jojo was diagnosed with a cancer called Nasal Adenocarcinoma and referred to the University of Georgia for radiation treatments.
The two have had a long career together since Jojo was purchased back in 2010 at just 12 weeks old. She quickly became an accomplished tracking K-9, primarily going after missing citizens and wanted suspects. Vinson explains, “By the time she was a year old, she had already captured 15 suspects.”
Officer Vinson describes the many adventures that the two experienced together—K-9 Jojo once trailed an armed robbery suspect for 10 ½ miles, and another time found a man who had fallen into a gully and had been missing for 58 hours. K-9 Jojo even helped to solve a murder case by finding the victim’s bloody nightgown. In fact, Vinson explained, “The murderer confessed but soon escaped from jail, but we managed to find him and put him in jail again.”
Officer Vinson explained the extent to which she loved working: “If I left in the vehicle without her, she couldn’t stand it.” On K-9 Jojo’s last call before completing her service, she caught two break-in suspects marking over 300 suspects caught in her eight-year career.
In January, Jojo went through three rounds of radiation at the University of Georgia. Officer Vinson explained that K-9 Jojo previously had no nasal airflow whatsoever, but now has much more. While Jojo still experiences some cancerous symptoms, “you can tell she’s feeling a whole lot better.” Jojo has been enjoying her retirement, and even now takes part in cancer research benefits.
After Officer Vinson applied for financial aid, the National Police Dog Foundation partnered with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation and the Petco Foundation Canine Cancer Fund to see that Jojo’s veterinary bills were paid. Vinson explains, “They have been wonderful—it makes you feel good to know there are people out there willing to help!”
Sharing the support of Officer Vinson’s cancer therapy is the Search Dog Foundation. Kate Horwick, its Program Manager, explains, “In partnership with the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo Company, the Search Dog Foundation is so pleased to be able to provide working dogs funding for the diagnosis, treatment of and palliative care for canine cancer through the Petco Foundation Canine Cancer Fund. No handler should ever have to make a hard choice between financial security for a family and medical care for a beloved canine partner.”
The National Police Dog Foundation is pleased to be able to help alleviate Officer Vinson’s financial burden and glad to see K-9 Jojo enjoying a well-deserved retirement.
The National Police Dog Foundation wishes to thank the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF), and the Petco Foundation, for their cooperative effort in making this medical grant available.
Our Retired K-9 Medical Fund offers Retired K-9’s handlers grants that assist with costs related to emergency medical expenses. Unlike human officers, K-9 officers do not receive a pension. Medical expenses, often related to active duty, now fall on the benevolant handler who is taking care the K-9 in retirement.
The National Police Dog Foundation commends these K-9s for their dedication and service, and is proud to assist in the medical emergency care for retired K-9s. These dogs have given their whole lives to protect us, its time to give something back. Please click on the button below to donate to our Retired K-9 Medical Fund. The K-9s need your help.