SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Police K-9 unit is the star of a new 2018 calendar that is helping raise money to build new kennels.
"I initially ordered 30 calendars, thinking, I wonder if we'll sell 30, wasn't really sure," Carla Blazek, calendar photographer and head of K-9 Support Northwest, said.
Blazek quickly realized 30 calendars definitely was not enough. The handlers knew people loved the dogs but they never expected the calendar to be so popular.
"It's not us, it's the dogs and hopefully nobody thinks it's any other way than that, " SPD K-9 handler Todd Belitz said.
KREM 2 aired a story about the calendars on January 5. Since then, they have sold more than 200 calendars and raised nearly $9,000 in donations to help build the new kennels.
"We were fortunate to pick up these stainless-steel kennels here. This is our dog wash,” Belitz said as he showed us around the new kennels.
Considering what the K-9s do every day, the dog wash is a big deal. Just this week, Zeus had to crawl through an attic to find a suspect and came out covered in insulation.
Once finished, they will also have a classroom for training. None of this would be possible without help from the community.
"In my opinion, this makes the building when it's all said and done that much more special, to show that this wasn't just something that maybe the city or somebody just wrote a check for and had it done, this has kind of been a community project," Belitz said.
"We're getting support and donations from all over the country, we are sending out calendars to the east coast, to the south, to the west side, and t-shirts as well, it is unbelievable," Blazek said.
You can still order a calendar or a t-shirt to support the unit here.