unnamed (1)


JANUARY 6-7, 2022







Spike’s K9 Fund was founded in 2014, to provide active and retired working K9s the support, equipment, and post-retirement care they need and deserve.

The goal of our Spike’s School - SAR Edition program is to educate and improve communication between handler and K9 through top notch training from exceptional and recognized trainers across the country. Quality training results in increased effectiveness in the workplace and safer handling, protecting everyone involved - and this is our goal.

Spike’s K9 Fund was founded by James Hatch, a retired member of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and named after his first working K9 “Spike” who was killed in action in 2006. James was a K9 handler on multiple combat deployments. He and his team regularly relied on the K9’s to preserve their lives. On the night James was wounded in 2009, a K9 named “Remco” saved his life while losing his own. Now James is committed to preserving K9 lives in the same, dedicated way that the K9’s preserved human lives.

We will be teaming up with the Center for Forensic Training and Education (CFTE) to provide the best education possible. They provide innovative and customizable training and operational support to agencies and individuals regarding all aspects of the preparation and execution of search and recovery scenes.

This training will be 100% funded by our donors. We want to ensure everyone’s time is valued. Thank you in advance for your commitment to be better, thus making a difference in the K9 community and YOUR community.

Spike’s School will be sponsoring 24 working spots in the Disaster Response for Wilderness Handlers Workshop. This workshop is open to live find and human remains detection teams.



To be considered for Spike’s School, applicants must be an active and deployable member of their SAR agency and have a current K9 FSA or CE from FEMA or SUSAR. Complete the Spike’s School application and submit all supplemental documentation at https://form.jotform.com/212083877475162


Award Announcement: Award recipients will be announced by October 15, 2021. 24 handlers will be selected.


* MUST READ: Spike’s Fitness Test:

Arrive prepared. This was a theme in our Founder’s former line of work that remains with us today. We believe it is important to be prepared for the job at hand. As a requirement for each course sponsorship, we are asking every applicant to complete a 1 mile hike carrying 25lbs. in 20 minutes or less. Each applicant will be tested the first morning of the workshop (suggest we drop evening before and do it the morning the course starts) before the course begins. If unable to pass the fitness test, the applicant is responsible for Spike’s School fees of $200. Your $200 application fee will become a donation to Spike’s K9 Fund.



WHO: Live Find and HRD USAR Handlers

WHAT: Improve your ability to search effectively and safely in a USAR environment

WHEN: January 6-7, 2022 0800 – 1700 with an evening session on 1/6

WHERE: Menlo Park Rescue Site, Home of FEMA California Task Force 3



  • Concrete rubble searches
  • Wood rubble searches
  • Building searches
  • K9 Agility for USAR
  • Lifting/Rappelling
  • K9 First Aid
  • Creating the reward event
  • USAR Equipment overview and safety discussion


Instructors and Special Guests:

  • James Hatch: Founder of Spike’s K9 Fund and Naval Special Warfare K9 Handler
  • Michael Ellis: Internationally renowned trainer and Founder of the Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers
  • Evan Nolte: US Army Special Operations Medical Specialist. Known online as Denmother K9
  • USAR Handlers: Tim Houweling; Deana Hudgins; Eric Darling; Nick Fathergill; Athena Haus; Tom Haus; Kathleen Kelsey as well as other local USAR Handlers


This is a Spike’s School event. To be considered:

1.Complete the application at https://form.jotform.com/212083877475162 by October 1.

  1. Application fee of $200 is required to hold your spot and be considered for sponsorship. You will receive an invoice after you complete the application. Your application is not final until you pay the registration deposit.
  2. Sponsorship recipients will be announced by October 15.
  3. If you are not selected for sponsorship, your $200 application fee will be refunded on October 15.
  4. If you are selected for sponsorship, your application fee will be refunded in full after the workshop if you successfully complete all of the tasks below. You may elect to have that refunded if you:
  5. Sign all waivers, provide a copy of current K9 vaccination records prior to the workshop, and follow all applicable COVID-19 site, city, state and federal requirements.
  6. Complete a 1 mile fitness test hike with your K9, in 20 minutes or less, while wearing a 25 lb pack.
  7. Attend the entire workshop and participate in all stations and the evening class
  8. Complete an online after action survey

If you do not complete all 4 items, your deposit will become a tax deductible donation to Spike’s K9 Fund.