Paw and Order: Fundraiser Friday at the Miner’s Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City
Special to The Union
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Paw and Order Dinner
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 22
Cocktails 5:30 p.m., Dinner & Program 6:30 p.m. Deadline for ticket sales is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19.
WHERE: Miner’s Foundry Cultural Center, Nevada City
INFO: Facebook: Rüdiger Fan Club
The guest of honor at a Sept. 22 fundraiser will be surrounded by gentlemen in freshly-pressed suits and ladies in beautiful dresses, yet he’ll arrive on four legs.
That guest of honor is Rüdiger, Nevada City’s K9 cop.
“This is an opportunity to continue the connectivity between our amazing law enforcement agencies and our amazing community,” said Joey Jordan, President of the Rüdiger Foundation. “Our agencies may not have the funding to equip the officers so they can be safe.
“We want to step in and support them. This is the community coming together in partnership to support this dog.”
The Rüdiger Foundation will host its second annual Paw and Order fundraiser Friday at the Miner’s Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City.
The event raises money to pay ongoing costs associated with the Nevada City Police Department’s K9 program, such as training, equipment, and vehicle maintenance.
This year, Paw and Order organizers want to raise money that could also be used to initiate a K9 program in Grass Valley’s Police Department.
“The dog will protect the community, the officers, property, and businesses,” said Grass Valley Police Department Chief Alex Gammelgard. “In addition to an apprehension and deterrence tool, a K9 will also serve as a community outreach piece in our community policing and community connectedness.”
The foundation hopes to raise at least $25,000 at the fundraiser; they netted $28,000 at the inaugural event last year.
The year-long fundraising goal is $110,000. That would cover the commitment to Rüdiger and the Nevada City Police Department, plus allow the foundation to offer $80,000 to Grass Valley to fund the purchase of its own K9 cop and equipment.
The life of a K9
Rüdiger’s handler, Michael “Scott” Goin, said he knows the many steps the Grass Valley Police Department will have to go through because his department did the same thing two years ago.
“It’s a long process,” said Goin. “You’ve got to analyze where the funding will come from, compile a proposal that includes trainers, dog shopping, and handler selection.
“Then the pair go to training as a team and get their certification. Only after all that can the dog be sworn in as a peace officer.”
Training doesn’t end after the swearing-in ceremony.
The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training recommends at least 16 hours of training each month. For two full days every month, Goin and Rüdiger are on the road attending training sessions all across California.
Those trainings, and every other cost incurred to put Rüdiger on patrol, are community-funded through the Rüdiger Foundation.
The foundation has a six-member board, none of whom is paid, and there is no overhead. Every penny raised goes to support Nevada City’s K9 program.
“In 1986, I watched someone in law enforcement who was a close friend get shot and killed because there wasn’t a dog available to do a building search,” said Jordan. “Building searches are very dangerous for a human police officer.
“They’re not a lot less dangerous for a dog. But the dog is a tool and a very important, meaningful tool that saves police officers’ lives.”
Rüdiger hasn’t saved Goin’s life, but he has kept the officer out of a lot of fights.
“When I go to take in a subject who has a warrant, the guy will often tense up and his carotid artery starts bulging, preparing to put up a fight,” said Goin. “I’ll just remind him that my partner can be out here in a matter of seconds.
“Then the guy calms down and allows himself to be cuffed.”
Rüdiger is not just a K9 cop, he’s an ambassador for the Nevada City Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.
Rüdiger’s Facebook page, the “Rüdiger Fan Club,” has more than 1,000 “likes” and followers.
“He’s got more ‘likes’ and followers than any political candidate I’ve worked with,” said Jordan, who also runs political campaigns for local candidates.
“Rüdiger is super happy,” said Goin. “He loves going to work. In the morning, he wakes up at 5 a.m. already banging on his kennel. He eats his breakfast, then sits and waits for his collars to be put on.
After his shift, he enjoys being a family dog and playing with my four-year-old son and our two Labrador Retrievers.”
Goin said his wife was initially reticent about welcoming a police dog into the family.
“She was skeptical at first, but he’s bonded with everyone and has become a member of the family,” said Goin. “She was worried whether a police dog would bite or be violent. He’s not that way at all.
“The way we refer to it is, ‘He has a good light switch.’ It means he can go from being just a dog to a protection animal to a narcotics sniffing dog with just a matter of commands.”
Goin said like all good K9 officers, Rüdiger takes cues from his handler.
“They say the handler’s vibe travels down the leash, and it’s very true,” said Goin. “If I get hyped up, so does he. Examples might be if we’re tracking someone who just ran from a vehicle or searching a building for someone who may by lying in wait.”
Goin, 35, has served with the Nevada City Police Department since 2003. He was teamed with Rüdiger in June of 2015, when the dog was just a puppy. Rüdiger is now three-and-a-half years old.
The K9 was born in the Czech Republic and transported to Riverside, California by Adlerhorst International, a business that specializes in police K9 training and European imports.
“The day I met Rüdiger, there were 13 law enforcement agencies shopping at Adlerhorst,” recalled Goin. “I chose him from among 30 dogs, but he chose me at the same time. By that I mean he behaved and was calm even though he was only one-year-old. He was the first dog I tried.
“The second dog I tried bit me a few times and the third was too big and heavy to be lifted up into attics and for other things we sometimes need to do.”
While Jordan said Friday’s fundraiser is an ideal time to meet the star attraction, Rüdiger, she acknowledged the event has faced a few hiccups.
“We were worried we’d have to eliminate the vacation in Antigua from the auction since that place was hit hard by Hurricane Irma,” she said. “But we checked last week and the resort is standing so join us and bid on it!”
There will be both a live and silent auction, and a dinner catered by Antonio Ayestaran. The program will include a video about Rüdiger’s service to his community. Tickets are $100 and are tax-deductible.
Dozens of businesses have donated goods and services to make the event a success. Many other businesses conduct fundraising for Rüdiger year-round.
“Even before we got the dog, the Golden Era Saloon (in Nevada City) created a Rüdiger cocktail,” said Jordan. “I think it’s a combination of vodka and magic. They also sell a Smoky Rüdiger, which is Mezcal and magic. A dollar from every cocktail goes to the foundation, and 100% of Rüdiger’s training has been funded by those sales at Golden Era.
“The Nevada City Winery has bottled Rüdiger red and Rüdiger white wines,” Jordan continued. “The bottles are specially-labeled with Rüdiger’s picture on the front and his story on the back label. It’s so popular, they can’t keep it in stock and 10% of those wine sales support the Rüdiger Foundation.”
“Then there’s the Four Paws Animal Clinic in Nevada City and Dr. Susan Murphy,” said Goin. “She provides all of Rüdiger’s routine veterinary care for free, plus supplies all his food and preventive medicine like heartworm treatment.”
Goin said he is deeply appreciative of everything the community, Rüdiger Foundation, and others have done for Nevada City’s K9 program.
“Rüdiger’s temperament is the biggest deal, his personality,” said Goin. “He’s a super special dog. And it took a lot of support to get him. I don’t take that for granted.”
Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. She can be reached at LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.
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