Hillsboro community raises money to purchase vest for K-9 officer

Inside Paws Rehab in Northeast Hillsboro, co-owner Diane Kunkle shows us around the facility.
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 10:58 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Inside Paws Rehab in Northeast Hillsboro, co-owner Diane Kunkle showed FOX 12 around the facility.

“We do both rehab and sports swimming and fitness here for dogs,” Kunkle said. “We have two underwater treadmills. We have two swimming pools. We also do the sport of dock diving. It’s the fastest growing dog sport in the world.”

Their recreational pool is used by sporting dogs as well as training for Hillsboro Police Department K-9s.

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“They contacted us several years ago and wanted to bring their dogs to the pool to learn to swim for part of their training,” Kunkle said. “They do Wednesday night trainings. They brought a couple of them, they had never swam before so it was kind of fun to watch them. After a session they were going off the dock just like champion dock dogs. They don’t come often, they come every few months and just let the dogs have fun. We appreciate them and what they do for the community so we wanted to give back a little bit.”

Paws Rehab partnered with the Hillsboro K-9 Foundation to raise $3,300 to purchase a vest for K-9 Mac. The Hillsboro K-9 Foundation said the Hillsboro Police Department has a fixed budget allocated for each unit, so they fundraise to help get the K-9s special training, vests, and more.

“Within a week we raised that much money and we’ll do it again soon,” Kunkle said as she presented the K-9 officers and Hillsboro K-9 Foundation with the check. “Everybody loves you guys.”

“This is actually super important for Mac to have because we sometimes get sent to the most dangerous calls,” Officer Kevin Mesch said. “Where he could be subjected to gunfire, edge weapons, things like that and this will help protect him.”

Mesch has been with K-9 Mac since January and feels supported by the community with this donation.

“At the Hillsboro Police Department we really try to protect our citizens and go above and beyond,” Mesch said. “It was nice because it felt like the citizens went above and beyond for us and it feels really good. We’re really happy to be here. We’re happy the community came together for us and we are just going to keep doing the best we can.”

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Kunkle said she looks forward to continuing working with HPD’s K-9 unit.

“We will definitely support them” Kunkle said. “They are always here for us if we need them. This shows how supportive this community is. It’s pretty expensive to get this stuff for the K-9s and we encourage other groups to raise money.”