Community honors a K9 hero by building agility course for Roanoke Valley K9s

Local News

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — While volunteers worked on an agility course for Roanoke Valley K9s on Saturday, two friends who bonded a long time ago through a heroic K9 reunited for the first time in five years.

“I got wounded in 2009, and the reason that I’m here is a dog saved my life,” said James Hatch, the founder of Spikes K9 Fund, “by taking the first few bullets in a gunfight.”

Now, in honor of the heroic dog, Spike, Hatch cares for K9s in return by donating bulletproof vests, medical assistance, and heat alarms for police cars.

“What we’re asking these dogs to do, we ask them to do some really hard things,” said Hatch. “They’re not volunteers like I was in the military, or these police officers. They volunteered to do that job, the dogs didn’t. They were just born with a set of skills.”

While the community event on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Roanoke County Police Department led to the creation of the eighth agility course built by Spikes K9 Fund, there was another reason Saturday was such a special day.

“What’s great about today, here in Roanoke is the guy who handled the dog that saved my life, he’s here,” said Hatch.

According to Hatch’s friend, Mike Toussaint, it is “highly emotional when we get together; because we love each other, and we will always be there to support each other whenever we have the opportunity.”

It’s been five years since Hatch and Toussaint saw each other, and what better way to honor the memory of Spike than by helping other K9s train to be their best.

“Sometimes the dog is an unsung hero,” said Toussaint. “It makes it even more special to me to see the dogs being highlighted and memorialized and assisted in the way that Spikes does.”

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