This year's 2022 Heroes Run in Kelowna will honour police service dog Gator, who gave his life to protect his handler and best friend during a high-risk call in Campbell River, B.C., on July 8, 2021.
The Ned’s Wish society is committed to supporting law enforcement and the Canadian Armed Forces by providing financial and educational support to enhance the quality of life for their K-9 retirees in Canada.
Unlike police and armed forces officers who receive a pension when they finish serving their communities, police dogs do not.
"We are dedicated to improving the quality of life of retired police and military dogs. We create financial support to aid in the cost of healthcare, and we provide education on the importance of caring for police and military dog retirees," said a spokesperson for Ned's Wish.
This year's Heroes Run will honour police dog Gator who gave his life to make sure his handler was able to go home to his family.
"To commemorate Gator’s five years of faithful service, we have set up a 5 km road race and are inviting our racers, and their dogs, to honour Gator’s sacrifice and celebrate his courage by running it with us," said Const. Kent Wagner with the Kelowna RCMP police dog unit.
Typically police and military dogs retire around seven years of age, and the average life span of a police dog is between nine and twelve years. Police dogs comprise a small portion of the canine population, but the majority of their lives are spent in service to ensure the safety and well-being of others.
"Retired police dogs are near the end of their lives, so by virtue Ned’s Wish is about quality, not quantity. Ned’s Wish exists to help retired police dogs enjoy their remaining years," says Const. Wagner.