WYOMING, Mich. — A West Michigan-based dog training company recently donated a K9 to the Wyoming Department of Public Safety as part of the work they are doing through their nonprofit arm, WMK9 Foundation.
West Michigan K9 was started by Stephen Parent in 2013 to train dogs for all settings— with a particular focus on training law enforcement and military dogs.
About two years ago they were able to grow their work by starting WMK9 Foundation, with the goal of donating dogs to those in need who couldn't necessarily afford them.
They donated their tenth K9 this year to the Wyoming Department of Public Safety.
“Purchasing green canines for our program, we do spend a significant amount of money on it, so to have someone be willing to just donate something like that. It's huge,” said canine handler Officer Adam Sherman.
Sherman has already begun working with Max, the 1-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd, donated by WMK9.
They have about two weeks left of training before they will be certified to hit the streets of Wyoming to begin working as a team.
"It's been three weeks today of doing actual training, but he's been with me just over a month-and-a-half. We do a two-week period, which is bonding, he gets to live on the couch and be the pup that gets to hang in the house and have fun,” Sherman explained.
Max will be stepping into his new role as a police dog after another one of Wyoming's K9 officers retired.
Parent heard about the retirement about 2 weeks ago and was quick to reach out to the department to see if they would be interested in a donated dog.
“Our philosophy is that these dogs can truly bridge the gap right now that's happening between communities and law enforcement," he said.
Wyoming DPS has its own internal training system for K9 officers, but Max still went through several weeks of training beforehand at West Michigan K9's West Olive facility.
Parent says they will typically spend hundreds of hours training dogs if they need to go through their full program.
You can find more info about their training services on their website.