A pioneering Canadian program, the SaskSPCA’s Stryker K-9 Care Fund was established in 2015. It provides owners of retired law enforcement dogs with assistance for the cost of routine and emergency veterinary care, applying to dogs no longer serving in agencies like the RCMP, a municipal police force, or Canada Border Services Agency.
Law enforcement dogs play a valuable role in protecting both officers and the community. The dogs are trained to handle a variety of important tasks, including tracking, searches for people and evidence, and criminal apprehension. Each dog is usually paired with one handler, a regular member of the agency who has volunteered to be a part of the canine unit. While on the job, the dog and handler work together as a close-knit team; when off-duty, the dog lives with the handler.
After retirement, most dogs stay with their handler, but if that is not possible, a suitable new home is found. Once the dog has retired, the handler or new owner is responsible for all costs associated with the dog, including veterinary care.
Applications for the Stryker Fund are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Annual grants for up to $1,500 per dog are available, and funds may be used for costs such as:
- A complete yearly physical, including age-appropriate blood work
- Medication and monitoring
- Dietary supplements (when recommended by a veterinarian)
- Medically necessary surgeries
However, the program does not cover the cost of food or cosmetic surgeries such as tail docking, ear cropping, or devocalization.