Dogs are often the first line of defense in war, and in law enforcement. That has not gone unnoticed by a retired Navy SEAL whose mission is to help protect these canine protectors.

His efforts are helping one of our local K9 officers and his handler.

Trained K9s can find guns in the grass, hunt down fugitives, and of course protect their handlers. Sadly, they often lose their lives in service, but not as often if retired Navy SEAL, Jimmy Hatch can help it.

Hatch, who lives in Virginia Beach, said he will never forget the dog that gave his life in combat so that he could live. “My first work dog was named Spike and he was killed in 2006 in Iraq,” he said.

Now, he’s thanking the many K9s who made the ultimate sacrifice through SpikesK9fund, a non-profit that raises money to provide gear and care for working dogs.

One of those dogs is “Finn.” He’s the sole K9 for the Appomattox County Sheriff’s Office. “He’s critical to the agency,” said Deputy David Sparnroft.

The Belgian Malinois can track criminals, find lost kids, and sniff out drugs, he can do it all. But there are some places he can’t go with Sparnroft. “If I’m in court, for example, ” said Sparnroft. And in hot weather, there’s an added risk. “Although he’s left in a vehicle with the AC running sometimes machines fail,” said Sparnroft.

If you want to help or sponsor a dog or agency, you can do that here.

Read More: WSET, ABC