Ready to respond! Dante with K9 Defender Fund gear Lambertville, Michigan, 26 June 2017 | 06:15 AM America/Chicago Kits for K9's In Case of Emergency...This Bag Can Help "I've seen the difference these furry spirits make in a person's life." When duty calls, they respond. When faced with danger, they act. When emergency strikes, they come running. And they always arrive…on four legs. Inspecting the scene. Arson dogs get recertified in detecting arson. On the spot. Matilda, an arson dog, completes her recertification training in Michigan. Teamwork Matilda and her handler work together during a recertification training. They’re working dogs. From police, to military, to search and rescue – their mission is to serve and protect others. While the situations and responsibilities differ, each pooch has the same purpose: Help those in need.But what happens when these courageous canines need help? Tracy Spader of the K9 Defender Fund found an answer.“I started the K9 Defender Fund in 2013 out of admiration and respect for the work done by military, police, search/rescue and fire dogs,” said Spader. “These K9’s and their handlers put their lives on the line each day and need to be protected if something goes wrong.”As the mother of an Air Force Captain, Spader has a deep passion for working dog teams. She’s even opened her home to two military dogs, Buddy and Jig. “It’s a privilege to support the K9’s who work tirelessly to protect us,” said Spader. “No matter the circumstances, no matter the injuries, they’re determined to get up every day and do it again.”A Kit Fit for a K9That’s why, four years ago, Spader created the Buddy Bag. With the help of two veterinarians (one of whom spent time with the military), the bag contains supplies specially selected to meet the needs of injured animals.What’s the cost for a first responder who wants to buy a bag?Zero dollars.“Many departments like police and military have experienced budget setbacks. So, the organization donates Buddy Bags to working dog teams in need,” said Spader. “When we provide the bags, I require every handler to give me a verbal ‘YES.’ That means they will work with their veterinarian so they know how to properly use the items found in the Buddy Bag.” What's Inside? Here is a detailed list of Buddy Bag items. To date, more than 600 Buddy Bags have been donated to first responders in 43 states and areas where the US military is active. While Spader hasn’t heard from every department – she knows the bags are making a difference.“In Kentucky, an officer and his K9 partner were assisting with an arrest. While stopping the suspect, the dog was injured. Luckily the officer had a Buddy Bag and was able to give aid to his partner at the scene. The dog has made a full recovery and is now back to work. Since that incident, the police department is committed to promoting the use of Buddy Bags,” said Spader. On the job. Wish, a working dog is ready to fight crime. State Farm is a financial supporter of Buddy Bag program and its commitment to assist emergency personnel. At a recent State Farm Arson Dog training, teams not only detected the presence of accelerants like lighter fluid and gasoline at fire scenes, they also learned how to use the Buddy Bags.“Many animals in this line of work risk being burned through the course of an explosion, fire or accident,” said Spader. “Rescuers are taught how to administer oxygen, how to perform first-aid for injuries, administer lifesaving drugs and how to use other Buddy Bag supplies.”So what’s next for Buddy Bags?“We’re staying busy,” said Spader. “We want to keep supporting K9 units by providing adequate supplies. We’re continuing to fundraise and educate. After all, I’ve seen the difference these furry spirits can make in a person’s life. We need to ensure while keeping others safe, they stay safe.”To learn more about the K9 Defender Fund or to donate, click here. Meet Jig The former military dog dedicated its life to keeping others safe. The Buddy Bag In the event of an emergency, this bag is specially designed to meet the needs of four-legged first responders. Surveilling the scene Radar, a first reponder, waits patiently for her partner's signal for assistance. Keeping their skills sharp First responders complete an arson detection recertification.