Prince William, VA- Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in Northern Virginia, announces their second assistance dog candidate Semper K9’s Mikey. Mikey is a 6 month old lab mix who comes from Northern Virginia rescue organization Operation Paws for Homes.
Mikey is named in honor of Semper K9’s Director of Operation’s uncle Michael D. Collins who passed last April. Collins was chosen to enroll in the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning Georgia in 1968, later graduating as a U.S. Army Ranger. Mike then deployed to Vietnam with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served a one-year tour with B Company, First Battalion, Fifth U.S. Cavalry, and First Air Cavalry Division. Collins was awarded two bronze starts-one for Valor and another for Meritorious Service. Other honors Mike received include the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Air Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Valorous Unit Citation, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Designation.
“On April 11, 2014 I lost one of my heroes. Big Mike was loved by his family and will forever be in our hearts.” said Semper K9’s Director of Operations, Amanda Causey Baity. “There is not a day that goes by where I do not think of him or the fun times we had. His love of animals, especially labs and helping veterans makes this the perfect memorial to him. I am so thankful I have this opportunity to honor him and help a service member and their family at the same time.”
“Big Mike was a man that believed in our country and actively tried to make a difference even after his service in the military. His disability never slowed him down. After witnessing his struggles first hand it taught me how to love and be happy no matter what life throws at you.” said Crissy Causey, his niece.
Operation Paws for homes, who is currently Semper K9’s rescue partner, rescues dogs of all breeds and ages from high-kill shelters reducing the numbers being euthanized. Their dogs come from rural shelters in South and North Carolina. OPH’s goal is to fulfill the dreams of dogs who find themselves abandoned in shelters by uniting them with forever families who will give them the life and love they deserve.
Semper K9 Assistance Dogs provide Assisted-Living K9s for wounded, critically-ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Christopher Baity, Semper K9’s Executive Director, is an OEF/OIF combat veteran Marine Corps dog trainer and kennel master with three combat deployments, one civilian deployment and two additional overseas deployments. With 14 years of experience he continues to use progressive styles in an ever evolving field. Currently an AKC evaluator, Baity is proficient in animal behavior, obedience and training, and kennel management.