Charity Issue: Who let the dogs out?

Coco LeGrand

To help Dogs on Duty, go to their website, to find out different ways to support, donate and volunteer.

By Caroline Steidley, Kirkwood High School

Meribeth Broadway’s eyes glisten as a herd of lively, energetic puppies rush toward her. She gleams as they pick up tennis balls, roll around on the ground and wrestle with each other. However, these dogs are not your ordinary pet: they are what Broadway likes to call “working dogs.” Search and Rescue, service and K9 dogs are the types of pups Broadway said she loves most.

In 2013, Broadway, founder of Dogs on Duty, decided to train her own dog to become a Search and Rescue dog. After learning her puppy could not be certified due to health concerns, Broadway wanted to find a way to help support all working dogs.

“Once I found out how much it costs, I felt bad [about] how much [people were] spending,” Broadway said. “Search and Rescue is a volunteer [job], so you pay for all your equipment [and] training. Most handlers spend at least $2,000-$3,000 a year, out of pocket. I decided I was going to [create]an organization to help those types of people do their job.”

These dogs will give their life for you.”

— Meribeth Broadway

Dogs on Duty is a non-profit organization that dedicates its time to providing equipment for dogs in the workforce. People from all over the country rely on Dogs on Duty to help supply the crucial resources dogs need to assure they are protected and prepared for any job that comes their way.

“I’ll [help] any dog in any state,” Broadway said. “I want to make sure that no matter where [the dog] is, it’s safe and has the right equipment to do its job. These dogs will give their life for you.”

Courtney Spiess, a police officer for the St. Charles Police Department, has received help from Dogs on Duty for her own K9, Tank. She said without Dogs on Duty, Tank would most likely be retired by now.

“Tank’s leg stopped working [last year],” Speiss said.  “We had no idea what happened [because] he didn’t have any type of accident. We didn’t have the money to get MRIs done or run expensive tests so I was really scared. My department was going to retire Tank at 6 years old. Maribeth stepped up and said, ‘No, we’re gonna see what’s wrong with him. We’re gonna pay for it and [get him] the treatment he needs.’”

Barb Nelson, board member at Dogs on Duty, got involved with the organization by taking her dogs to Broadway for training. Once Broadway told her about the program, she said she was immediately inclined to help.

I’ll [help] any dog in any state”

— Meribeth Broadway

“[Dogs] just want to please their owners,” Nelson said.  “They’re always going to do it, whether [they have the equipment to do it] safely or not. [Once Meribeth told me that], it sucked me in.”

Spiess said that as Broadway expands Dogs on Duty and makes the organization available to anyone, she continues to save puppies all around the world. She said she could not be more grateful for dogs Broadway has helped.

“There’s no words to express my gratitude, and what they mean,” Spiess said. “It’s a huge peace of mind knowing that we have an organization like Dogs on Duty out there.”

To help Dogs on Duty, go to their website, to find out different ways to support, donate and volunteer.

This story was originally published on The Kirkwood Call on December 1, 2022.