Our Warrior Dog Stories

Nonprofits provide two police dogs to Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Max and Timber Update.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office recently received two trained police dogs via nonprofits K9s United in Jacksonville and the Warrior Dog Foundation in Frisco, Texas.

The Sheriff’s Office had two K9s retire and faced the challenge of replacing the four-legged law enforcement officers, which can be tough amid tight county budgets. K9s United and the Warrior Dog Foundation stepped up to help. The organizations presented Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit deputies Steve Hills with K9 Max, and Andy McCrea with K9 Timber. The police dogs are Belgian Malinois and trained for dual purpose investigations.

“This is just one of many ways we support the K9s, their handlers, and the community they serve, “ said Debbie Johnson, founder of K9s United, who made the trip to Texas to present the Clay County Sheriff Officers with their new K9 partners. “We are so excited to have such a great partner in Warrior Dog Foundation, so we can continue to fulfill our mission.”

The Warrior Dog Foundation is able to fulfill its mission for our retired K9s through valuable partnerships with organizations such as K9s United, said Mike Ritland, founder of the Texas organization.

“Max and Timber were ready to go back into service, and K9s United made this possible by connecting the Warrior Dog Foundation and the Clay County Sheriff’s Department,” Ritland said.

K9s United was founded by Debbie Johnson in honor of Baron, a St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office canine deputy, killed in the line of duty October 7, 2014. A predominantly volunteer-based organization, its mission is to honor and supports canines of law enforcement agencies. It helps fulfill the needs of K9 units by providing the best equipment, amenities, and quality of life during and after their service while memorializes those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The Warrior Dog Foundation was founded by former U.S. Navy SEAL, Mike Ritland. Its mission is to help transition our special operations military canines from an operational environment into its state-of-the-art kennel facility. The foundation then ensures that each retired canine is cared for with dignity and grace. It provides both mental and physical rehabilitation for the rest of canines’ lives, with the goal to re-home them.

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Warrior Dog CWD Blackjack

Everyone, please join us in welcoming retired CWD Blackjack, to the Warrior Dog Foundation.  

Mike Ritland, Founder, with the Warrior Dog Foundation‘s newest resident, CWD Blackjack. Thank you Puppy Rescue Mission for transporting him to the ranch.

Pictured to left is Michael and CWD Blackjack. A little about Blackjack. 

Blackjack was on duty, protecting his unit from bombs, when a vehicle he was inspecting had a tire blow up next to him. Ever since that day, he was diagnosed with C-PTSD. He could not continue his career and Blackjack was retired. Michael adopted Blackjack to give him the retirement he deserved. Blackjack was brought to the States and was reunited with Michael a few months later in December. Sadly in February of 2015, Michael was hit by a drunk driver and did not survive. Blackjack then went to live with Michael’s mom who cared for him the best she could, until retiring him to the Warrior Dog Foundation for rehabilitation and care.

Warrior Dog Carlos

MPC “Carlos” and I. He was one of the reasons why I started the Warrior Dog Foundation, to help give a retirement to any working dog who needs it!  

He was an amazing dog, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about what an honor it was to give him the retirement all our four-legged heroes deserve! Help share his story so that everyone knows just how loyal and courageous our four-legged warriors are! For anyone that may not be familiar with his story, I have included it below.

On a raid, “Carlos” and his handler were the unfortunate victims of an IED that went undetected. In the middle of an intense fire fight, they approached an entryway where a bunch of munitions were cached. Enemy combatants hastily detonated the IED, and the resulting explosion severely injured both the handler and the dog and leveled that entryway. The force of the blast collapsed Carlos’ lungs and sinuses and threw him several feet, which resulted in his breaking both his back legs and his hips. When the other members of the team rushed up to assist the fallen handler, despite his own injuries, “Carlos” managed to crawl over to his handler and guard him. It took some time for the rest of the team to calm “Carlos” down. All the dog knew was that his buddy was hurt, and he was going to make sure that nobody else did any damage to him.
“Carlos” and his handler were medevaced out of that area of operation, and I’m pleased to say they both fully recovered. “Carlos” healed so well that he eventually returned to operational status and was even deployed again before being retired at age seven.


Welcome Rocky

Everybody, please welcome the newest Warrior Dog Foundation resident, retired K9 Rocky.
We will continue to evaluate him and provide updates in the weeks to come on his progress.


 Memorial To Zorro

Rest in peace, K9 Zorro.
It’s with a heavy heart, that I announce the passing of retired Police K9 Zorro.
Zorro was our resident old man at the Warrior Dog Foundation. He truly enjoyed the retired life! He loved rolling around in the grass and just relaxing laying out in the field while getting scratched right behind the ear. Every once in a while, he would get up so you could throw the ball for him a couple times and then he would go back to relaxing.
The passing of these warriors never gets easier, but knowing we were able to give him the retirement that all our working dogs deserve, makes it all worth it. – Mike Ritland