Harper Woods K-9 fundraiser breakfast to continue as takeout event

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published April 19, 2021

 The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society’s Harper Woods Police Department fundraiser will benefit the K-9 unit, which includes officer Kaiser.

The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society’s Harper Woods Police Department fundraiser will benefit the K-9 unit, which includes officer Kaiser.

Photo provided by Veronica Paiz

 Those who contribute at least $50 to the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society fundraiser will get a plush doll of K-9 officer Kaiser.

Those who contribute at least $50 to the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society fundraiser will get a plush doll of K-9 officer Kaiser.

Photo provided by Veronica Paiz

HARPER WOODS — The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society is returning with its pancake breakfast fundraiser to help raise money for Harper Woods’ K-9 police unit.

The fundraiser will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, May 15, at Redeemer United Methodist Church, 20571 Vernier Road. It will be a drive-thru.

“We had to miss it last year,” said Harper Woods City Councilwoman Veronica Paiz. “Things have changed a little because of COVID. We are hoping to keep things the same except this time we have the drive-thru with food pickup. Our city manager is usually flipping the pancakes along with Rex from Rex’s Deli. The food is donated by Family Foods on Harper Avenue. We won’t have the coffee from Tim Hortons since they are closed, so we’ll have the pancakes, sausages and juice.”

To donate or for more information, call (313) 884-1551 or go to www.gpaas.org.

The GPAAS usually hosts two such fundraisers a year; however, last year’s pancake breakfast was canceled due to COVID-19.

“Annually the pancake breakfast has been held at Redeemer United Methodist Church,” Paiz said. “We are glad to be back after missing a year. It’s a great way for the community to get together and have fun, even if this year people can’t meet face to face.”

Corrine Martin, the founder and executive director of GPAAS, said that the fundraiser is even more important than usual since previous fundraisers have had to be canceled.

“COVID has impacted everything,” she said. “The exposure that the K-9 does for the city for fundraising has been less. We haven’t been able to fundraise in the schools or at other events. People aren’t comfortable with those sorts of things yet, so that’s why we are trying to do this pancake breakfast outdoors.”

The funds will help support Kaiser, the Harper Woods Police Department’s K-9 officer. He was born in the Czech Republic and joined the Harper Woods Police in 2017. As a certified police canine, he is certified in search training, article and area search, narcotic detection, public relations and patrol.

“There’s so many things the dog does for the department,” explained Martin. “Public relations is a huge part of it, but he also serves as a soft way to control situations and can be backup for police officers in dangerous scenarios, such as if they stop someone and that person is combative. The minute that person sees the dog, they are more cooperative. He is great at finding things, finding lost persons, searching for drugs. It’s amazing how able they are to locate things a human officer never could.”

Those who donate at least $50 can take their own mini-Kaiser home with them.

“We also will have the Kaiser plushy, a stuffed animal of our K-9 officer in Harper Woods, which people can get for a $50 donation or more,” said Paiz. “Previously we have had a big table of raffle items. We would raffle off gift cards or decorative things, but instead we are doing the Kaiser plushies since a raffle would be too hard with this format.”

The money raised will benefit the numerous annual expenses that are part of maintaining a K-9 unit.

“Our goal is $10,000 every year,” said Martin. “We have a car, we have a dog, we have an officer, but the certification, the gear and all of the other expenses require this extra support.”

The relationship between the Harper Woods police and the GPAAS is one of neighborly assistance, but also one of necessity given the laws regarding how money can be raised by civic organizations.

“The reason the GPAAS does this is because we have a contract with the city of Harper Woods for animal services,” said Martin. “We helped form a group to receive donations for the K-9 program because of that relationship and since they aren’t allowed to directly receive donations from the public. As a nonprofit, we can do that and then make sure the money goes toward the K-9 program. Every dollar goes to this program. It’s completely separate from the money we collect for our shelter animals.”

Paiz added that having a K-9 unit gives a police department more options and many useful tools that would be otherwise unavailable.

“We’ve always had a lot of strong support for our police in the city,” she remarked. “Kaiser has helped our department seem more approachable and heightened community involvement. Who doesn’t love a dog? He’s also helped the community understand the type of police work we do here in the city. He’s emblematic of the different ways of policing. Not everything has to be done with a gun. Kaiser can do things people can’t do. He’s helped our department and other departments perform a lot of searches.”