Thursday, February 19, 2015

Research Help: The Canine Factor

James O. Born

Writing a novel is not always the solitary, lonely existence we make it out to be.  After the manuscript is finished it takes a dedicated team to make the book a success.  I'm not talking about just the publisher either.  For my next novel, Scent of Murder, I had to do some serious research about police dog handlers and their canine partners.  As with all my novels, realism was paramount.  What I learned was not only are police K-9s the closest thing to superheroes we have in real life, but the people who really care about dogs are some of the most pleasant and helpful people in the world.

I read article after article about police K-9s and found several organizations that not only helped that research but are vitally important to the K-9 world.  Let's take a few minutes to get to know three of these agencies a little better.

Through Facebook I discovered the German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County .  Their president, Maria Dales, leads a cadre of dedicated volunteers who have a very simple goal: help German Shepherds in distress.  There is no mixed message or hidden plan to make a profit.

In their website's own words:

German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County (GSROC) is a non-profit 501(c)3 charity organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing purebred German Shepherd Dogs that have no where else to turn.

GSROC is a volunteer-driven organization. We are funded entirely by private donations and receive no government support. Dogs for adoption are housed in foster home situations and in private boarding facilities. Currently, we do not own our own kennel facility, but our dream is to have one some day so that we can eliminate the tremendous expense associated with boarding the dogs while they wait for their forever families.

The GSROC also lays claim to the cutest photo on the internet posted to the right.

I also ran across, a Houston-based organization that helps with the tremendous cost of police K-9s.  The Chief Operating Officer, Melanie Boyd, has been very helpful to me.  The organization recognizes that not all towns are as big as Los Angeles or Miami, but they still have a need for the best possible law enforcement tools available. recognized this issue and has stepped forward to help.  Again they have a direct goal and no hidden agenda.

Their website says:

Our foundation was formed to address the need for funding the purchase of K9s for Law Enforcement Agencies.

K9s cost between 10,000-15,000 dollars and most agencies are not budgeted for that kind of expenditure. However most departments can budget for the required care, training and transportation of a K9.

Most recently I spoke with Russ Hess, the director of the United States Police Canine AssociationThis is a professional organization who ultimately provide the standard by which all police K-9s should be trained and provides information on how to reach those standards.  It is a lofty and difficult goal that the organization handles well.

Their website says:

The United States Police Canine Association became the largest and oldest active organization of its kind-"Ever Striving for the Betterment of all Police K-9" - in August, 1971 when two existing Associations, the Police K-9 Association and the United States K-9 Association, merged.
  • To unite in a common cause all law enforcement agencies utilizing the services of the canine as an aid in the prevention and detection of crime.
  • To promote friendship and brotherhood between all those interested in the training and utilization of the canine in police work.
  • To endeavor to establish a minimum working standard, and improve the abilities of the canine in police work, thereby rendering better service to the community.
  • To establish and maintain a legal assistance fund for acts resulting in civil suits from the use of police trained canines.
  • To coordinate the exchange of any advanced techniques of training of the utilization of police dogs.
  • To improve the image of the working police dog to the populace in general through improved public service in the prevention and detection of crime.
  • To aid and assist those law enforcement agencies making application for information concerning the establishment of canine sections within their respective departments.
The United States Police Canine Association has a foundation which anyone can contribute to dedicated to helping police K-9s. 

The official description is:
To expand and support the goals of The United States Police Canine Association, Inc and to serve public safety by securing and providing necessary financial and programmatic resources needed to conduct educational and training programs and perform research and;  To assist, where additive to existing programs, and otherwise support public safety agencies to effectively and efficiently carry out their missions.
On a side note, one of the board members of USPCA is Marilyn Walton.  She has already written two non fiction books about police K-9s called Badge on My Collar and and the sequel, Badge on my Collar II Check them out.  
The focus of my posts for the past year have been on writing.  It's easy to lose sight of the world outside publishing.  It is my personal belief that these three organizations epitomize the ideal of helping others in getting involved.  I'm proud to be associated with them in any way an intend to promote them during my book tour.  If you get a chance, check out the websites and see if you don't agree with me.

Feel free to leave a comment or contact me through my e-mail at

Have the best possible Thursday imaginable.


  1. Robert Brennan2/19/2015 10:41 AM

    This looks interesting. I like police/crime books and dogs. Good luck.

  2. I found out about the good work of the German Shepherd Rescue group from a friend who has had shepherds for decades. He donated to them in my name one Christmas, so they send me occasional updates. Looking forward to the book, James O.

  3. from Jacqueline: Hey Jim, just as well I didn't post my little piece on German Shepherds this week - we'd have to change our name to the Naked Authors GSD Admiration Club! A lovely post, Jim.

  4. Just a small correction Jim. Marilyn Walton is not a USPCA board member. Although she got a kick out of being promoted. Marilyn is an Honorary Member and her Badge On My Collar books have several members and their partners featured. Looking forward to the book.
    Russ Hess
    National Executive Director

  5. Thanks, guys. Sorry for the mistake, Russ. I still recommend Marilyn's books.