Palmer Trinity junior Adam Block has a love for animals and a concern for retired law enforcement canines. In fact, he started the South Florida Fund for Retired Law Enforcement K9s to help retired police dogs get the medical care they need. He learned about the problems the officers face because his dad is a veterinarian.
“My dad takes care of the TSA dogs and the law enforcement dogs. All the medical bills fall upon the officer,” he says.
Some dogs suffer from joint damage from jumping in and out of cars while the bigger dogs can develop bloat. “That’s a $4,000 to $6,000 surgery (for bloat).
That’s out of pocket,” he says. He recently held his first event and raised $18,000.
“It’s only for serious health issues, not for check-ups,” he says. “We’re going to have forms and all that set up to see if the dog is eligible.”
They have created a website for the fund – www.SoFLRetiredK9fund.com.
“Right now we are starting in South Florida and we will helpfully grow,” Block says.
He’s been working on the program for more than a year. The charity has now been recognized by the Police Officers’ Trust.
“I love animals and when dad came home and told me about this one officer had this dog who needed surgery and he couldn’t afford it,” Block says.
The officer was helped by a police department in Ohio, but Block felt that wasn’t right. The dog had been a police officer in South Florida and Block believes that the officer should have been able to get help in his home area.
Block not only helps retired police dogs, he also helps people. He has participated in a number of medical mission trips as well as the annual mission to Nicaragua taken by Palmer students. On that trip, he helped build a home for a needy family.
He’s also gone on trips to Honduras organized by his father and a vet from Alabama along with a number of doctors.
“It’s a medical mission trip, mostly for people who live in the villages,” Block says. “The check-up are done by doctors who go down.”
At the same time, the vets visit the farms and check on the farm animals and an occasional dog or cat.
“They go around to the fields and getting rid of the bacteria on the cows,” he says. “It’s like a spray. I’ve helped him with that. I switched off this year. I went with my dad in the field and I also helped the pharmacist dispense medicine and I helped the dentist, too.”
He also visited the Dominican Republic on another medical mission trip. The first time he went on a trip, he was surprised at the poverty.
“When you come back it is really surprising to see what the differences are,” he says. “It makes you appreciate what you have.”
Going on the mission trips has cemented his wish to become a doctor.
In his spare time, Block competes in gymnastics. He has been interested in gymnastics since he was four. He does it for fun. Although it’s not quite as much fun at the moment since he’s recovering from breaking both ankles while practicing for a competition. The injury happened in early October and is expected to take six months for full recovery.
When he returns from his injury he plans to do more coaching and cut back on the training and competitions.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld