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Thrivent's K9 5K to raise funds for future training

Office Travis Sundvall and his K-9 partner, Bosco. (Submitted Photo)

Bosco, the Farmington Police Department's lone K-9, is getting on in years, and a local group has begun raising funds for his future replacement.

The eight-year-old German Shepherd and his handler, Officer Travis Sundvall, have been serving together since they graduated from the St. Paul K-9 program in 2010.

"The cost of a new canine with training and equipment is expensive," said organizer Amy Flom. "This is a great opportunity to give back to our community and support our local police."

Flom is an insurance associate with Thrivent Financial, an organization known for its emphasis on doing good deeds in the community. She has scheduled a 5K run for 9 a.m. Sept. 24 in the Rambling River Park in Farmington.

Officer Sundvall said although Bosco is still healthy and active, it's never too late to plan ahead.

"Bosco will continue to work until injury or a health concern arises that will prevent him from doing his job," Sundvall said. "He will then retire at home with his handler. Due to the immense cost of a police service dog and associated training, we are working to have funds in place to transition to another dog soon after Bosco's eventual retirement."

According to the National Police Dog Foundation, purchasing a dog can cost up to $8,000 because most of them come from Europe. Training can cost up to $15,000 more.

Police departments do not usually have these start-up costs in their budgets, so K-9 units often go to the community to raise support.

Flom's Facebook page advertises, "Walk, run or jog, and bring along your dog!"

All participants will receive a T-shirt and are entered in drawings for prizes. The minimum pledge is $25. Pledges of $100 to $249 can be entered to win a Bluetooth speaker. Pledges of $250 to $499 can be entered to win an iPod. Pledges of $500 or more can be entered to win an iPad. In addition, many of Farmington's local businesses have donated prizes which all participants may enter to win.

"100 percent of participants' pledges will go to the Farmington Police Department's K-9 Unit to help with the expense of a new dog," said Flom.

Besides regular patrol duties, Officer Sundvall and Bosco are trained to assist with high-risk crimes, area and building searches, vehicle and narcotics searches, tracking and apprehending fleeing suspects, and searching for lost or missing persons.

They also make several community appearances.

To register online, go to bit.ly/2c1QkUf or find the link through Flom's Facebook page, "The K-9 5K for the Farmington PD."

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