Support our Heroes!

Thank you for following our tribute posts this week – we hope you enjoyed learning more about K9s Greg, Johnny, Gildon, and Ivan.

Since its founding in 2004, Capital K9s has provided 17 working K9s to the City of Madison Police Department K9 Unit.  SEVENTEEN!  In addition to the four honored this week, five currently enjoy retirement (Josh, Martie, Boris, Frees, and Jagger), and eight actively protect and serve the greater Madison community on a daily basis (Slim, Falko, Krahnie, Carl, Allied, Bowie, Patton, and Archie). 

Supporting the financial needs of an 8-dog K9 Unit is not an easy task…  Capital K9s greatly appreciates monetary donations, in-kind donations, and volunteer hours provided by individuals and businesses.  We cannot support the MPD K9s without your contributions.

How can you continue helping us?  Donate.  Sponsor a K9. Attend our events – as a vendor or participant.  Buy our merchandise and raffle tickets.  Volunteer.  Incorporate Capital K9s into your estate plan (and name a working dog to continue your legacy!).  Hold your own fundraiser in your own creative way.  Serve on our Board of Directors. Support our K9 heroes and their handlers wherever and however you can.

Thank you for your interest in our organization and for supporting the MPD K9 Unit.    

Click hereto make a gift to Capital K9s!

Your gift – of any size – supports the K9s of MPD who serve and protect you every day.

K9 Tributes – Police Week 2019 – Greg

Dates of Service: 2/15/2005 – 4/20/2010
End of Watch: 12/16/2016
Breed: Dutch Shepherd

Partner:  Ofc. Bart O’Shea

K9 Greg was the first working dog acquired by Capital K9s for the City of Madison Police Department.  Greg, who worked with Patrol Officer Bart O’Shea, is one of four dogs generously sponsored over the years by Mid-West Family Broadcasting.  Mid-West named Greg and the second K9, “Johnny” (who was featured in yesterday’s post), after disc jockeys Johnny Danger and Greg Bair, of the infamous “Johnny & Greg” morning show on their WJJO (94.1 FM) Solid Rock radio station.

After retiring in 2010, Greg became O’Shea’s wife’s running partner – because she liked to run early in the morning, while still dark, and appreciated the security of having a highly trained landshark at her side.  Greg also enjoyed lounging around the home with the family’s other dog. “He had a great personality, was always ready to work, and [was] equally willing to let 5-year- olds crawl all over him…  It was a delight to be his handler.”

Thank you to O’Shea for providing the following stories about Bart, who he often referred to as being on “The Smarter End of the Leash.” 

Passed out — or Not?

On a dark and not stormy night, our victim in this sad tale made some poor decisions…  He was a car salesman from Illinois delivering a Honda Odyssey minivan to a dealership in Madison.  He was staying overnight and made his first mistake by deciding to take in some entertainment at a local strip club.  He made his second mistake by making friends with a villain (our suspect) at that strip club.  He made his third mistake by going with our suspect to buy a little crack cocaine to enhance his evening. He made his final mistake by agreeing to give the suspect a ride home.

Greg comes into the story after the ride home turned out poorly.  The suspect pistol-whipped the victim  while he drove 60 miles per hour, drunk and high on crack. Eventually, the rolling carjacking ended at the intersection of Stoughton Road and the beltline, with our woeful victim left bleeding on the side of the road as the suspect drove away in the stolen minivan.

Shortly after stealing the van, the suspect was observed by a Monona Police Officer and dumped the van, opting to flee on foot. The Monona officer did not pursue based on information the suspect was armed and dangerous.

Greg and I arrive on location where the suspect was last seen. Greg began to track the suspect and was tracking along a short hedge row in front of an office building. He then turned sharply left and was engaged in the shrubs on something I could not see. I called Greg back to me. On looking under the bushes, I could see feet at one end and a hat at the other end. I then called out that we were the Madison Police and had a police K9.

The suspect then called back, “I’m passed out.” Realizing that this might not be true, I gave another warning that there was a police K9 and he would be released. When the suspect did not respond, I unhooked Greg from his tracking leash and sent him. Greg engaged the suspect and ended up dragging the male a distance of about 6 feet, by his shoulder, out into the parking lot – where he was taken into custody. The suspect’s gun was recovered along the path of his flight.

The Jump

Very early in Greg’s career, we were dispatched to check a tennis court area at Reynold’s Field Park to locate evidence relating to a sexual assault that occurred on the court.  This tennis court area is above a City of Madison water utility building and protected by a stone half-wall which stood about 15 feet off the ground.

Because it was early in the morning and the tennis court was empty,  I took Greg off of his leash to search  the area.  After we finished searching, I stood on the stairs and looked over the stone wall – down at the area below.  I then heard one of the other officers with us begin to yell, and to my horror, watched Greg sail over my shoulder.  I had not given any command to prompt the jump, but by looking over to the ground below I made Greg think he needed to search the area in the direction where I glanced, so in that direction he went.  He fell 15 feet, landing on his back, between two steel electrical boxes.

I ran down the stairs, expecting to find a severely injured dog. Miraculously, Greg was in a ‘sit’ position, but skewed sideways as though drunk. He simply stood up, shook himself, and ran off. He then started to sniff around the area, continuing to search for evidence as though nothing had happened, while I checked to see if I still had a pulse.

Spinning in a Circle

Greg and I were assigned to help the Dane County Narcotics Unit execute a search warrant.  The tenants at the apartment to be search were arrested earlier that day delivering a kilo of cocaine.

Greg searched a couple of rooms and located some cocaine in a drawer. We then entered a bedroom. Greg intently searched the tops of everything in the room.  He sniffed the top of the bed, he sniffed the top of the dresser, he sniffed carpet in the room…  He then glanced up and sniffed in the center of the room.  He then began circling in the middle of the room, sniffing with his nose in the air. Above him was an attic access door. Greg ended up standing on his hind legs, continuing to sniff as he walked in a small circle under the attic access door, like a dog performing a trick.

Next, I set a chair on top of small table and got up into the attic space. We located 41 kilos of cocaine in the attic – the second largest seizure of cocaine in state history at the time.

The Helicopter and the Devil Dog

Greg had an extremely effective technique in his bite-work practice.  He would launch at his target, catching the person serving as our training decoy (in a protective “bite suit”) around the upper part of their shoulder.  He would then relax and let his body weight swing around the person while they attempted to run away.  Greg would then snap his head and the person would leave their feet as they and Greg spun around like helicopter blades through the air.  Greg could do this even to large men well over 200 pounds. Smaller people didn’t really stand a chance against him.

Greg also had an unusual characteristic while engaged in bite-work. The decoys who wore the bite suit or  a bite sleeve told me that, during his bites, Greg’s eyes would roll back in their sockets and the whites of his eyes would turn red, making him look like a “devil dog.”

Rest in peace, Greg. Thank you for your tireless service and dedication to keeping your community safe.

Click here to make a gift to Capital K9s this Police Week 2019!

Your gift – of any size – supports the K9s of MPD who serve and protect you every day.

K9 Tributes – Police Week 2019 – Johnny

Date of Birth: 5/5/2003
Dates of Service: 2/16/2005 – 2/7/2015
End of Watch: 7/1/2016
Breed: Belgian Malinois

Partner: Ofc. Jim Donnell

K9 Johnny was the second working dog acquired by Capital K9s for the City of Madison Police Department.  Johnny is one of four dogs graciously sponsored over the years by Mid-West Family Broadcasting.  Johnny and the first K9, “Greg” (who will be featured in another post), were named after disc jockeys Johnny Danger and Greg Bair, of Mid-West’s WJJO (94.1 FM) Solid Rock radio station. 

Johnny worked with MPD Patrol Officer Jim Donnell.  One of Donnell’s favorite memories of service occurred in their first weeks on the job, in February of 2005.  Johnny’s tracking skills allowed the duo quickly locate an elderly woman who wandered away from her home dressed in clothing not suitable for a cold Wisconsin winter day.  Before Johnny arrived on the scene to assist, the woman evaded human officers’ search efforts for over 90 minutes.  After sniffing the woman’s pillow-case, Johnny tracked to the woman’s location just in time – after only three minutes of tracking.  Had they not located her when they did, she would have likely died of hypothermia.

In October of 2012, Johnny helped Donnell earn a “K9 Handler of the Year” award from the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Canine Handlers’ Association.

Toward the end of Johnny’s nearly-ten-year career with the City of Madison, Donnell began training his second K9, Krahnie.  Johnny served as Krahnie’s on-the-job “mentor” for about a year before working his last shift.   From there, Johnny retired to a peaceful life at home with Donnell. 

Johnny is fondly remembered by Donnell as a loyal companion and eternal guardian.

Special thanks to the Stoughton Veterinary Service for providing Johnny’s primary veterinary care. 

Read more about Johnny in a previously-posted tribute to Johnny written by Donnell. 

Click here to make a gift to Capital K9s this Police Week 2019! 

Your gift – of any size – supports the K9s of MPD who serve and protect you every day.

K9 Tributes – Police Week 2019 – Gildon

K9 Gildon

Date of Birth: 10/1/2004
Dates of Service: 7/1/2006 – 12/1/2013
End of Watch: 9/11/2015
Breed: German Shepherd

Partner: Sergeant Jeff Felt

K9 Gildon was the third working dog acquired by Capital K9s for the City of Madison Police Department – thanks to a generous donation from Veridian Homes. He received his veterinary care from the Animal Hospital of Verona.

(Written by Sgt. Felt)

I’ve sat down a few times to try and write my thoughts to honor my partner of nearly 10 years — and have quickly become overwhelmed by the emotion and enormity of this task.  How can I possibly capture his impact and the greatness that I witnessed on a daily basis to those who may not know him or only met him in passing?  I don’t think I can, but I owe it to him to try.

The “him” I’m referring to is Gildon, my K9 partner and shadow for nearly 10 years, eight of those years working the streets of Madison and surrounding communities.  He abruptly left us on September 11, 2015.  A day to remember our fallen heroes and, I’m sure, part of his master plan. 

Gildon was an ideal pairing for me, my personality and temperament.  A circuitous path brought us together — Gildon was not my first K9 partner.  He was, technically, Gildon the 2nd.  The 1st Gildon and I worked together for about 5 months.  He didn’t work out, was returned to the vendor and Gildon the 2nd and I were paired together.  An immediate bond was formed.  We returned from our training and began working the street in July, 2006. 

One of our first assignments was working the Rhythm and Booms fireworks event at Warner Park.  I was certainly nervous.  Taking a brand new police dog to an event where hundreds of fireworks will explode is a bit daunting.  Gildon handled it like a champ, just like he handled the nearly 2000 calls for service during his career.

Gildon was a tremendous partner.  He was selfless, fearless, and relentless.  He trusted me implicitly and, although he could be a stubborn son of a gun, not a shift went by that he didn’t make me smile and often laugh out loud.  Those eyes… Those big, brown eyes…  Gildon had the most expressive eyes, even until the end.  I often joked with my wife that he knew me better than anyone.  And, I knew him.  We spent nearly 24 hours a day together for almost a decade.  Although he couldn’t “speak,” the two of us shared a common language.

I won’t bore you with all of his exploits, but I think it’s important to highlight some of his accomplishments.  Gildon received two state awards for his work during his career and was nominated for several others.  He located 35 suspects on tracks and had countless other tracks to recover evidence.  His work led directly to hundreds of arrests while helping keep the officers safe he worked with daily. 

He loved to work.  He never called in sick and always came to work with a great attitude.  Even those few days I could tell he wasn’t quite himself, he always gave his best — and that was more than enough.  He appeared in many community demonstrations over the years.  As intense as he was while clearing a burglarized business, he was an equally big, lovable clown when entertaining a classroom of children-he always knew his audience. 

If you’re interested in reading some of my fondest memories of his calls for service, please click here.

Police K9s are so unique.  They do so much for a police department and its community, in so many ways.  They find people, whether tracking suspects in violent home invasions or locating loved ones (young or old) who may be vulnerable and missing.  They help take drug dealers, exploiting the addicted, off the street.  They are guardians and ambassadors all rolled into one.

I often think of Gildon and the times we shared.  It was such a unique experience, so difficult to put into words.  I hope I’ve been able to properly honor his memory.  Thank you, old friend. 

Click here to make a gift to Capital K9s this Police Week 2019!

Your gift – of any size – supports the K9s of MPD who serve and protect you every day.

K9 Tributes – Police Week 2019 – Ivan

K9 Ivan “The Delightful”

Date of Birth: 9/17/2005
Dates of Service: 3/7/2007 – 10/8/2012
End of Watch: 3/25/2018
Breed: German Shepherd

Partner: Ofc. Henry Wilson (Retired)

K9 Ivan was the fourth working dog acquired by Capital K9s for the City of Madison Police Department – thanks to a generous donation from the family of Mary Jane Hayes Meng.

You might remember reading about Ivan a little over a year ago when Capital K9s featured his “End of Watch” tribute, complete with special case stories and favorite photos shared by his handler, now-retired MPD Patrol Officer Henry Wilson. You might also remember reading news pieces in the Wisconsin State Journal featuring the pair (links below).

Wilson fondly recalls being paired with Ivan… While other sponsors of K9s chose their sponsored dogs’ names, Ms. Meng’s family bowed out of naming decisions. As a result, Ivan kept the name selected for him by his original training kennel where he and Wilson got their start.

Ivan always wanted to work. His drive and focus led those who saw him in action to describe him as a “warrior” or “machine,” or to compare him to the first Russian czar, Ivan the Terrible. To counter the image of a dangerous unapproachable K9-and-handler duo (especially in light of Ivan’s size and Wilson’s height), Wilson jokingly dubbed Ivan as “the Delightful.” The nickname stuck – making them approachable and memorable to those who met them during community events.

Story after story could be told about Ivan’s successful searches for narcotics, tracks for missing persons or crime suspects, searches for evidence, and tenacity during training exercises. It’s sometimes difficult for Wilson to explain how important Ivan was to him. His favorite story is about Ivan infusing new life into his career. “The name ‘Ivan’ means ‘gift from God,’ and he truly was a gift to me. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. I love that dog.”

After his early retirement due to health issues, Ivan reluctantly shared the spotlight with Wilson’s second working dog, K9 Boris. While he shared his home with Boris and three other dogs – another German shepherd and two stocky Staffordshire terriers – Ivan never relinquished his “Alpha” role or his fighting spirit. His absence is felt by Wilson every day…

Special thanks to All Pets Veterinary Clinic for providing Ivan’s primary care during his working years, to Evansville Veterinary Service for providing primary care during retirement, and to Madison Veterinary Specialists and UW Veterinary Care for providing specialty services.

Thank you for your service Ivan; keep resting in peace.

Click here to make a gift to Capital K9s this Police Week 2019!

Your gift – of any size – supports the K9s of MPD who serve and protect you every day.

K9 Patton’s Assist

On January 19th, in the early afternoon, an armed robbery occurred at a business in the 6000 block of Monona Drive.  Madison Police Officer Nick Eull and K9 Patton assisted the Monona Police Department tracking the suspect that committed robbery.  The track was approximately ¼ mile long and ended at the back door to an apartment building in the 400 block of Femrite Drive.  Two articles of evidence were located along the track.  Intelligence was gathered and the suspect and an accomplice were contacted by Monona Police officers inside the apartment building and arrested.  The two suspects maybe linked to as many as six other robberies in the area.  The investigation is ongoing.

Introducing K9 Patton

The Madison Police Department proudly announces the newest member of its K9 Unit, Patton.  K9 Patton is an almost two-year-old German Shepherd who was born in the Poland.  Patton is handled by Officer Nick Eull and replaces Officer Eull’s former partner, K9 Frees, who retired recently.

Patton is sponsored by the generous financial support of Mid-West Family Broadcasting.  As sponsors, Mid-West Family Broadcasting has the naming rights for this dog.  Patton is named after WJJO’s former Assistant Program Director, Music Director and mid-day radio host Blake Patton who retired from the rock station in 2010.

Patton is a dual-purpose canine trained to detect illegal drugs, track people, search buildings, and locate evidence in addition to other trained skills. Officer Eull and K9 Patton recently completed their certification process and are assigned to the day shift. 

Please join us in welcoming Patton to the team!  For more information on our K9 unit, follow us at www.cityofmadison.com/police/field/k9/ and follow our not-for-profit fundraising organization, Capital K9s at www.capitalk9s.org/.  Our unit is grateful for the financial support of Capital K9s and our sponsors, which enable us to continue to provide our community the services of a highly trained and professional K9 unit.

Happy New Year & Save the Dates

We hope your new year is off to a great start!

Rami, Fred, and K9 Krahnie celebrate the new year!

First: For those who voted so many times for us in the FM K-9 contest on Facebook — thank you. We unfortunately weren’t the top vote recipient, but appreciate your help trying to be more frugal when we purchase our next K9. 

Next: We’re already planning a busy year of events to promote and raise funds for the MPD K9 Unit. Please save the dates for these events and watch our social media accounts for more details.

  1. Doggy Date Night at State Line Distillery on Thursday, February 14th, 6-9:00 PM. $1 from every cocktail, mocktail, and soda sold will benefit Capital K9s. We will have a professional photographer onsite to take pictures in a “kissing booth” of you with your favorite human or K9 companions for a nominal donation. We will also have a limited amount of Capital K9s merchandise, trading card sets, and plush dogs available for purchase. 
  2. Our second Sunday Funday with Capital K9s at Wisconsin Brewing Company on Sunday, July 21st. We again plan to provide you with a K9 demonstration, music, food trucks, vendors, and more in a the spacious family- and dog-friendly atmosphere of WBC. Oh, we will have our own beer for sale as well!
  3. Our annual Dog Paddle Dog Swim & Dog Wash at Goodman Pool on Sunday, September 8th. If you haven’t experienced this before — you’ve been missing out! The pool is open for dogs only, and the day features contests, raffles, refreshments. Last year we again had around 1300 people and 700+ dogs in attendance. 

We also hope to participate in the Mounds Dog Fest and other community and fundraising events as the calendar (and K9 and volunteer availability!) allows. 

Lastly: We appreciate all of your support of our organization. If you would like to make a donation to sponsor a K9, include Capital K9s in your estate planning, provide general financial support the K9 Unit, fundraise through your business or other civic events, or volunteer with us — please contact any of our Board Members for more information. We thrive on donations of all sizes and monetary and in-kind donations; we cannot do what we do without your continued backing. 

On behalf of all the current and retired K9s of the MPD — THANK YOU. Our community is safer and stronger, and Madison is a better place to live and work thanks to our amazing MPD K9 Unit!

Introducing K9 Bowie

The City of Madison Police Department recently announced the addition of its newest member to its K9 Unit — K9 Bowie.  Bowie, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois born in the Netherlands, will work alongside Patrol Officer Eric Disch. Bowie is Disch’s second K9 and replaces K9  Jagger, who retired earlier this year.

Bowie and Jagger were both sponsored through the generous financial support of Karen Walsh and Jim Berbee, MD.  As sponsors, Karen and Jim had the opportunity to name each K9.  Connected to their love for rock music, Jagger was named after Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, and Bowie was named after late musician David Bowie.

Bowie is a dual purpose canine trained to detect illegal drugs, track people, search buildings, locate evidence, and assist in the apprehension of crime suspects.  Disch and Bowie recently completed their certification process and will work during the night shift. 

Please welcome Bowie to the K9 Unit!  Learn more about the K9 Unit on the MPD K9 Unit webpage, and follow Capital K9s on social media. 

The financial support provided by Capital K9s — all made possible through sponsors and donors — enables the MPD K9 Unit to protect and serve the citizens of Madison with the services of a highly-trained, certified, and professional K9 Unit.