Facebook post sparks K9 appreciation project

Melissa Cantu Trevino
Alice Echo News Journal

Alice Councilwoman and mother of a Jim Wells County deputy had an idea to show the communities support to a special kind of officers who aren't always acknowledged for their service.

Sandra Bowen woke up one morning thinking about her son Sgt. Christopher Bowen who works with the JWC Sheriff's Department. While thinking of the work her son does, she began to think about every law enforcement officer who serves and protects the community and the "not knowing what the day will bring as they walk out the door," Bowen said. 

After seeing the myriad posts on social media that showed how local organizations and people presented officers with goodies, Bowen's idea started to take shape.

She took to Facebook and asked the community to help show their appreciation to the four-legged officers who also put themselves in danger everyday. K9 officers are a vital part of law enforcement. Many of them detect narcotics and help rescue individuals in need or track suspects as they attempt to elude the two-legged officers.

On Monday, Bowen delivered goodies to the Alice Police Department for K9 officers Blackjack and Rex. She will deliver goodies to the JWC Sheriff's Office K9's on Monday, as she is awaiting more donations. K9 officers for the JWC Sheriff's Office are Dak, Ardo and Kila.

"I had been seeing several posts and photos of local organizations and citizens giving our officers pizza, goodie baskets, and other items to show their appreciation lately. Then, I thought to myself what about our K-9 Officers," Bowen said. "I was impressed by the positive response."

Bowen asked if it would be a good idea to gather items such as dog food, toys, treats, etc. for the Alice Police Department and JWC Sheriff's Department K9 officers. From there she went forward and started to collect items from those who responded and over the past month has collected items such as Milk-Bones, 40lb bags of premium dog food, several different KONG training tools, toys, handmade leather collars and leashes, dental sticks, and so much more. She made the baskets and hand delivered to the law enforcement departments with a smile under her mask.

"I watched those fine K-9 officers and their handlers next to their gifts from me and the community. I believe every officer including our K9 officers deserve to be respected, appreciated for their everyday sacrifices to our community," Bowen said. "Your K9’s are out there to serve and protect you and us, and they are doing a great job with your guidance. Thank you from myself and your community supporters.”

Bowen hopes it doesn’t stop with her, but that others in the community recognize the K9 officers for their service too.

Sponsors that donated to Bowen's cause included Bruce and Sandra Bowen, Danny and Tori Paiz, Debbie Bowen, Dr. Sam Wilkinson with Wilkinson Veterinary, James Neumann with Neuman Saddle & Leather Shop, Katrina Morris with Edward Jones, LJA Engineering, Martha Valdez, N.O.A.H., Patrick Jamie, Sarah Simmons, Victor and Anna Saenz.

Sandra Bowen donates items for K9 officers. Bowen stands with Alice Police Officer Cpl. Albert Stout and his K9 Officer Blackjack.
Sandra Bowen donates items raised by the community for K9 officers. Bowen stands with Alice Police Officer Tim LaGesse and his K9 Officer Rex.