WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) and Mike Quigley (IL-5) annouced they have introduced the bipartisan Honoring Our K9 Heroes Act, which establishes a grant program for non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations to provide essential veterinary care for retired Federal and Military working dogs.

Over 5,500 K9s currently serve our Federal Agencies, performing critical tasks to safeguard our country and communities nationwide. From detecting explosives and narcotics to rescuing individuals in danger, their rigorous roles often result in chronic health issues, resulting in overwhelmingly high healthcare costs that fall on their handlers after retirement.

The grant program created through this legislation under the Department of Homeland Security—the largest employer of K9s— will authorize $1,000,000 through 2029 for increased access to medical care for retired working dogs through qualified non-profits that provide veterinary care to K9 heroes. As these organizations confront mounting waitlists and escalating medical expenses across the country, this bill takes the necessary step forward to ensure that retired working dogs and their handlers receive the support and compassionate care they rightfully deserve.

"Our Federal and military K9 heroes have stood by our side, playing crucial roles in defending our communities and country with unparalleled loyalty and selfless dedication. This common-sense legislation marks a pivotal step in honoring their service and sacrifice by providing them with the essential veterinary care they need in retirement and alleviating the substantial financial burdens placed on their handlers,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick (PA-1). We must ensure our retired working dogs receive the respect, support, and care they have rightfully earned. The time is now for us to stand up and protect them, as they have stood by and protected us."

“Federal working and military dogs are forced to make sacrifices in service of our country that result in long lasting effects on their quality of life and exorbitant veterinary fees for their handlers. As the federal government, we have a responsibility to support their care long after they hang up their badge,” said Rep. Quigley (IL-5). “The Honoring our K9 Heroes Act will ease the burden of these costs for owners and help provide life-saving care for our hero dogs. These dogs spent years dedicated to keeping us safe, it is time we honor their sacrifice and provide a helping paw.” 

"These working K9s are heroes and should be treated as such in retirement. They have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe. Like many other handlers, I’ve watched these canines spend a lifetime serving selflessly. They train and work countless hours to serve their communities stateside and their country overseas. They risk their lives leading the way, whether sniffing explosives or apprehending a suspect. They don’t just deserve this care; we owe them this care," said Marshall Mirarchi, Former U.S. Secret Service Special Operations, K9 Handler.

"Providing medical care to these canine heroes is not only a patriotic duty but one of human compassion. Their service like all those that protect America should never be forgotten,” said Kathryn Coyne, Chief Executive Officer at The Animal Medical Center of New York

“Retired working dogs have bravely served our communities, often at great personal risk. Ensuring they receive comprehensive medical care in retirement is not just our duty but a testament to our gratitude for their unwavering service and sacrifice,” said  Nick White - U.S. Marine Veteran (Fallujah), Former U.S. Secret Service, & Celebrity Dog Trainer.

“The sacrifice police canines give to their partners and agency is unprecedented. Continuing health coverage after retirement is a way for us to give back to them," said Former USSS ERT Canine Supervisor, Special Agent Jonathan Stewart.

The mission statement of the Department of Veterans Affairs is ‘to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise to care for those who have served in our nation’s military and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.’ Our K9 veterans deserve that same level of care, to honor their service to our country,” said Dr. Matthew W. Brunke, DVM, CCAT, CVPP, CVA, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy Fellow, Veterinary Referral “As a veterinary specialist, I have treated many retired federal canines for musculoskeletal and neurological conditions that come with the rigors of their job and service. To care for these dogs is a privilege and honor but it should not be on the handler alone to pay for that care."

Read the full text of the bill here.


Working Federal and Military dogs often endure significant physical and mental strain during their service, resulting in serious injuries and their quality of life. Upon retirement, these dogs typically become the responsibility of their handlers, who must bear the increasing costs of their medical care alone. Without the support of organizations like K9 Hurricane’s Heroes, many working dog heroes would go without the essential care they need and deserve. As the demand for such support grows, these organizations face multiple challenges in meeting capacity needs. After years of dedicated service, these working dogs deserve to enjoy long and fulfilling retirements simply as beloved pets.