K9s United is predominately a Volunteer Based Organization with very little overhead in employee salaries. We take the financial dedication of our donors very seriously and have a commitment to assure their gifts make the greatest impact for our K9s and their Units. Our Leadership has bee selected because of their passion to our Mission, the willingness to stay true to our Vision, and have a devotion to our K9 Heroes.
Our Board of Directors
Debbie Johnson – Financial Professional
K9s United President and Founder
Learning about the tragedy of K9 Baron on October 7, 2014, something special happened. She turned her grief into inspiration and realized that she could do more for the K9s that serve and protect us.
Debbie wanted to learn more, so she applied for and was accepted to the Civilian Law Enforcement Academy class. There she learned more about the department and its budget needs. She also had the opportunity to meet Baron’s handler, Deputy Farrah Ashe. Debbie realized that their was a real need to support our K9 Heroes, so she applied for a 501c3 non-profit, which was approved in June, 2015 and K9s United was born.
Debbie not only has a full time career and a passion to fulfill the mission of K9s United, but she is also a Mom to her daughter, Emma and a Wife to her husband BJ. Debbie also has two dogs, Mattie and Gunnar.
Dr. Herb Loeman – DVM MSc, BSc
K9s United Board Member
Dr. Herb grew up on a small farm in Canada! He graduated from the Atlantic Veterinary College in PEI and worked for 3 years in a mixed animal practice outside Calgary, Alberta. He always talks about how he did a cesarean section on a cow in minus 40 degrees! Dr. Herb loves all types of animals. He has practiced for 10 years and always says that it feels like he has never worked one day. Dr. Herb especially likes orthopedic surgery and has a soft heart for rescue animals. He is currently the veterinarian for the Saint Johns County Pet Center and the Saint Johns County Sheriff Office Canine Unit.
Dr. Herb’s rescue dog “Leo” can always be seen riding with him to farm calls. He also has 2 rescue cats at home named "Spartacus" and "Ratone." Dr. Herb likes to travel to the Caribbean Islands where he can kite surf and lay on a beach in the sun. He thought snow banks and freezing winters were the norm until he arrived in Florida. Now he lives on Vilano Beach in St. Augustine where it never snows!
Photo Coming Soon!
Todd Galley – Business Account Executive, Comcast Business
K9s United Board Treasurer
Todd has lived in the Jacksonville area since 1984 and brings extensive knowledge and leadership experience to K9s United. Todd is one of the original founders of K9s for Warriors. While there he held the titles of Director of Operations, Director of Marketing/Communications and Chief Financial Officer.
Todd is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications and was a small business owner in the San Marco area for over 10 years. He is currently employed with Comcast as a Business Account Executive. His latest role allows him the ability to meet with small business owners in the North Florida community and assist with their telecommunications needs.
Todd’s passion for animals and law enforcement is the main reason for his board involvement. He understands the need and budget restraints that our area first responders face daily.
Todd’s hobbies include spending time with his family, running and golf.
Pam Doremus – Senior Account Executive, Benefits Technologies, LLC
K9s United Board Secretary
Pam is very passionate about supporting K-9 and Law Enforcement Officers. She is also involved in many levels of assistance with K-9s United as such Corporate Sponsorship, Event Planning and Awareness.
Pam holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and minor in English from the University of Florida. She is also a licensed Health/Life including Variable Annuity Agent.
Pam currently lives in Ponte Vedra, Florida with her two children.
Eric Heineman – K9s United Executive Director
Over the years Eric has encountered countless opportunities to create and build professional relationships as well as development in creative marketing practices. When Eric moved to Jacksonville, FL in 2006, he was introduced to Wounded Warrior Project, which at the time was just getting started. Although Eric never served in the military himself, meeting veterans through WWP gave him the desire to find a special way to honor those who have. Eric also developed a philanthropic passion to serve those who keep our communities safe and our country free.
In 2009, Eric started Acrodynamic Consulting, a business practice that would specialize in offering his skills to organizations focused on supporting veterans, first responders, and their families. One of Eric’s first clients was Goverline, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business that was a logistics company focused on fulfilling military contracts and hiring veterans to work these contracts. He also collaborated with prime contractors to establish partners with small disadvantaged companies to help fulfill contact requirements and set-asides. Eric also worked with several organizations including Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, Operation New Uniform, and Combat2 College, to name just a few.
Eric lives in Ponte Vedra with his wife Juli, their two children, Tyler and Reese. They also have two Weimaraner dogs, Brewer and Wrigley
Our Advisory Board consists of industry professionals or their spouses. We rely on our Advisory Board to be ambassadors of K9s United by embracing our mission and culture. These volunteers are selected because of their passion for law enforcement K9s and the communities they serve. Their commitment to grow our organization and expertise in the professional fields we support and work with are vital for the success of our organization.
Farrah Ashe and K9 Grimm
Farrah began a career in Law Enforcement at the age of 20. She started in the Corrections Division, eventually working her way to becoming a Deputy in Patrol. At the ten year mark, Farrah became a member of the K9 Unit where she remained until her retirement.
Farrah handled three working dogs during her career. K9 Bodi was her partner from 2007 to 2012. He was trained in Criminal Apprehension, Tracking, Building/Area/Article Searches and Narcotics Detection. Upon K9 Bodi’s retirement, Farrah took him in as a pet and he is still enjoying his retirement today.
K9 Baron became Farrah’s partner in 2012, before being killed in the line of duty on October 7th, 2014. Baron was trained in Criminal Apprehension, Tracking, Building/Area/Article Searches and Explosives Detection. Farrah and K9 Baron conducted Explosives Detection Sweeps for many events, to include The Players Championship, Daytona 500, and the Coke Zero 400.
Farrah was deeply saddened by the death of K9 Baron. She initially did not want to continue in the K9 Unit due to the loss of Baron and the fear of losing a K9 in the future. Realizing it was her true passion, she elected to continue as a K9 Handler. After properly grieving the loss of Baron, she was issued a new K9. The new K9 was placed with her on Halloween of 2014. Meeting the new pup and going with the theme of the day, he was given the name Grimm.
If you talk with Farrah about K9 Grimm, she will admit to you that he had very big shoes to fill. Her heart was broken and letting herself bond with a new dog was difficult. K9 Grimm however, seemed to take this as a challenge. Farrah and Grimm built a bond that cannot be put into words. They worked together until August 1st, 2017 and are now retired from law enforcement together.
Farrah decided to continue her passion of training dogs and started her own business. She said once she decided to take on the new adventure, the name of the business came to her almost immediately. She named it “Baron’s Friends”. Baron’s Friends Obedience Training not only honors her fallen hero, but like K9’s United, helps his legacy live on.
Patrick McGauley and K9 Monsoor
Patrick is a shift supervisor and K-9 handler for the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, where he has served for 11 years. Prior to his law enforcement career Patrick spent six years in the Marine Corps Reserves and deployed to Iraq twice, in 2003 with 4th Amphibious Assault Battalion and with Small Craft Company patrolling the Euphrates River in Ramadi in 2006.
Patrick has been a K-9 handler since 2010 and is also the agency’s K-9 trainer. He was a member of the BCSO Special Response Team and held positions of sniper and team leader, before deciding to dedicate himself entirely to the K-9 Unit. Patrick is also an instructor at Florida Gateway College Public Service Training Center where he teaches at the law enforcement academy. He is currently partnered with his second dog Monsoor, a Dutch Shepherd certified in patrol and narcotics detection. Patrick named Monsoor after MA2 Michael Monsoor, a Navy Seal who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Ramadi in 2006. Patrick became involved in K9s United after founder Debbie Johnson reached out to offer assistance with the needs of the BCSO K-9 Unit. Debbie’s genuine concern for working dogs and her drive to provide law enforcement K-9 units with everything they need inspired Patrick to assist the organization.
Patrick lives in Glen St Mary, FL with his wife and three children.
Charlie Wilkie and K9 Gator
Charlie has served as a police officer with Jacksonville, FL Sheriff Department for 25 years Nassau County SO as a deputy for several years as well.
He has been part of a K9 unit for over 18 years and is a distinguished member of the JSO Honor Guard.
Charlie was drawn to the K9 unit because of his love of animals and belief that K9s tend to lead the way in law enforcement. He enjoys watching his canine work and using the skills he has been trained to use.
K9 Gator and Charlie have been together for over 5 ½ years and were consistently one of the top producing K-9 teams in their unit.
K9 Gator loves belly rubs, dog biscuits and beef jerky. He hates water hoses.
Justin Rigney and K9 Zeke
Justin Rigney has been a Law Enforcement Officer for 16 years, nearly 10 of which he spent as a K-9 handler and trainer, where he had the opportunity to work three dogs. He and K‐9 “Bosky”, a German Shepherd were a team with an accredited Law Enforcement agency in South Florida for 6 years. During this time they were responsible for hundreds of arrests and apprehensions of violent felony offenders and he has been instrumental in the recovery of numerous articles of valuable evidence. Most notably being the tracking and apprehension of a serial rapist on a violent rampage, spanning over several weeks. Post retirement, Bosko obtained his Brevet in French Ring Sport. Justin then worked K‐9 “ Zeke”, also a German Shepherd that he raised from a puppy, for a year and a half. This team was extremely successful in criminal apprehension. Justin was a Corporal and trainer for his agency, which has 60 dogs department wide, making it one of the largest K-9 Units in the United States. Justin is a former member of the Davie Police Department and their K‐9 unit where he was the handler for K‐9 “Vader"; who was produced from his own breeding program. Justin has been training dogs professionally for nearly 25 years and is the head trainer for K‐9 Services Unlimited LLC. (www.k9servicesunlimited.com) During his professional dog training career he has trained with hundreds of Police K‐9 teams, competed in Schutzhund, Ring Sport and other dog sports. He has also trained dogs for celebrities, professional athletes and thousands of pet dog owners. Justin has recently graduated and been awarded a diploma in the NePoPo Gold training system, the modern language of dog training by Bart Bellon. Justin was the former President of the Florida Law Enforcement Canine Association (www.flecak9.com) and was one of the founding members. He was also a judge and instructor for FLECA. Justin has recently been retained as an expert witness in K‐9 training, deployment and use of force, which marks a new chapter in his career. He has had the opportunity to certify and train hundreds of Police K‐9 teams and teach at seminars throughout the nation. Justin continually pursues further knowledge of dog training in many different applications by training with some of the top canine trainers in the world.