If you would like to donate to ATO’s Retired K9 Fund, please visit Donate (paypal.com)
The Houston World Series of Dog Shows took place from Wednesday, July 19, 2023, to Sunday, July 23, 2023, and took place at NRG. The event was packed with lively performances, exhibitions, relay races, conformation judging, seminars, displays, and shopping.
Thanks to the ongoing partnership between Billye Tezel and the Houston Kennel Club and HPD’s very own Kristin Uhlin from Narcotics, Assist the Officer’s K9 Retirement Fund raised over $5,000 at this event. A special thanks to Houston Kennel Club and Texas Coastal Brittany Club for their generous donations.
This partnership has created another platform for positive community interaction for HPD to strengthen community ties. Tezel first became inspired to help dogs in law enforcement at the 20th anniversary of the original 9/11 terrorist attacks. In February 2002 she was attending a black-tie “top dog” event at the Westminster Dog Show in New York City. During the event the NYPD’s K9 officers and their handlers were honored. They filed into the room to music and images from the 9/11 rescue efforts projected on a large screen. An NYPD K9 handler with his German shepherd puppy stopped beside Tezel’s table. German shepherds have always been her favorite breed, and she commented to her friend, “Oh, the puppy!” The handler, realizing Tezel’s misinterpretation of the situation, informed her that every puppy in the room represented a K-9 officer lost during the 9/11 rescue efforts. The gravity of this stayed with her. She continued her endeavors of showing dogs for kennel clubs and national competitions. On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, she went to the Houston Kennel Club’s president, Tom Pincus, and asked, “What are we doing for the law enforcement working dog?” He gave her the green light to find out what was needed.
A mutual friend introduced Tezel and Uhlin, and the opportunity finally could create a partnership to help the working dogs in law enforcement emerged. During this meeting, Tezel learned that the city budget covers the vet bills for active working dogs, but there is nothing to cover vet bills for retired K9 officers. This partnership allowed them to collaborate with Assist the Officer and set up a fund to help with the veterinarian care for retired K9 officers. The Houston Kennel Club appreciates the demonstrations done by HPD K9s and Life Flight at the dog show and is grateful to say thank you for the service of these dogs in a tangible way.
Painting of HPD K9 Airus
During the 2022Houston World Series of Dog Shows last year, Addyson Villareal, a soon to be 7th grader, was able to meet HPD Officer Kristin Uhlin and K9 Officer Airus. Addyson became inspired during the demonstration in which Officer Uhlin was showing off Airus’ law enforcement skills and got to meet him face to face. Addyson said she just loved Airus because she “loves police dogs and he was so beautiful.” Addyson asked Officer Uhlin if she could paint Airus for the art competition held at the Houston World Series of Dog Shows for 2023. Of course, Kristin agreed, and Addyson painted Airus and entered him into the painting competition. K9 Officer Airus is a 10-year-old German Shepherd single purposed in narcotics and is the main dog that trains with Houston Memorial Hermann Life Flight to help instruct EMS and Law Enforcement Officers with K-9 care.
Author Shannon Barker
Published August 7, 2023