BARBOURSVILLE, WV (WOWK) — James Hatch is a veteran who fought in Iraq. While in combat, his life was saved by a dog named Spike. Spike meant the world to him, but tragically died and Hatch came back to the United States with severe PTSD.
“I came home from being wounded. It was the end of my career. I couldn’t be a tough guy anymore, so I struggled really badly and was suicidal,” said James Hatch, Founder of Spike’s K9 Fund.
One night Hatch’s wife feared for his life and called the police since he was threatening to take his own life. Hatch said the police showed him kindness and ultimately, helped him recover.
Hatch was able to start his own business using what saved him, his beloved Spike ad police officers, as inspiration.
“Each one of the stars in this logo represents a K9 that I served with that was killed in combat, so I started this trying to fix that dog that needed surgery that the city didn’t want to pay for,” said Hatch.
He started Spike’s K9 Fund. This fund would assist police officers and their K9 partners by supporting their medical bills and assisting in their training. These agility courses created by this fund are a necessity in keeping the K9 officers fit.
“It is a pretty tight bond. A lot of people ask if it is like your best friend, but it’s more like your sibling,” said Corporal Ben Butler, Huntington Police Department.
This Saturday marks the beginning construction of the new Spike’s K9 Training Center. Together veterans and police officers with the same love and passion for their dogs and partners can work side by side.
“Those dogs will willingly give up their lives for us, so I just want to do everything I can to make sure that I’m doing right by them,” said Hatch.
It’s stories like James and the support from the community that warms our hearts and paws.