MARK-9 is a non-profit organization set up to assist handlers with the financial needs of medical care for their retired K-9 partner. When working K-9s retire, they often live with their partner and their family. Very few departments have a program in place to care for the medical needs of these K-9s during retirement. All costs associated with the K-9’s is the responsibility of the Officer and his/her family.

The goal of MARK-9 (Medical Assistance for Retired K-9’s) is to provide financial assistance for the medical care of retired working dogs. As K-9s retire due to medical issues or age. Many handlers are inundated with sky rocketing veterinarian care, whether it be annual wellness care, an unexpected illness, or a medical emergency.

We are a 501(c)3 organization run by a team of volunteers. All donations are tax deductible to the full extend allowed by law.

We can be reached at:

560 W. Ogden Ave, Suite C
Lisle, Illinois 60532
Phone: (630) 301-2320

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Alexis Newman, DVM, CVPP, EMT


Dr. Alexis Newman received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University in 1998. Following veterinary school, she completed a Surgical and Emergency Internship at California Animal Hospital, in West Los Angeles. Dr. Newman has a special interest in police and working K-9s. She has worked with them for many years and understands the needs of the K-9, the handler, and police departments. Her passion of working with police dogs and their handlers, led to starting Partners and Paws Veterinary Services. Dr. Newman also works with sporting groups, rescue groups and ‘civilian’ dogs and cats. In addition to treating working dogs, Dr. Newman’s special interests include trauma, soft tissue surgery and pain management. She completed her certification from the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management and, becoming a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP) in Illinois. Dr. Newman has written also written a veterinary health column for the Police K-9 magazine since 2012, which is well known among K-9 handlers. She speaks regularly to local police and other K-9 groups as well as conducts first-aid classes for first responders.

Tara Poremba


Tara Poremba has been with the Chicago Police Department since 1995. A K9 officer since 2008, Tara spent her first 10 years with K9 Brix , specializing in Narcotics/Patrol/Cadaver. (RIP BRIX 2007-2018). She has been with her current partner Chase since 2017, specializing in Narcotics and Patrol work. She has been serving as a K9 Trainer since successfully attending and completing K9 Trainer’s School at Vohne Liche Kennels in 2013. Tara also serves as a State of Illinois, NRA, and FBI-certified firearms instructor teaching concealed carry and other basic and advanced shooting classes with Top Shot Academy.

Kurt Griffing


Kurt Griffing
Officer Kurt Griffing is currently assigned as the K9 Officer for the Rockdale Police Department with his Partner “Roxie,” a 5 year-old German Shepherd. Officer Griffing was the founding member of his departments K9 Division and received his assignment in March of 2018. Officer Griffing also serves as a Field Training Officer and the Union President. Before becoming the K9 Officer, he served as a plain clothes member of the Will County Gang Suppression Unit. Officer Griffing began his law enforcement career in 2015 and received his training at the Police Training Institute located within the University of Illinois Campus in Champaign, Illinois. Officer Griffing also volunteers his time with the Illinois Special Olympics.

Mike McDevitt


Mike McDevitt

Firefighter/Paramedic Michael McDevitt from the North Aurora Fire Protection District is paired with “Talon,” a 5 year-old German Shepherd, this unique pair is assigned to the Illinois Urban Search and Rescue Team, IL-TF1. Talon is trained as a live find disaster recovery K9 as well as tracking and article recovery. Michael has been with the fire department since 2006 and began working Talon in January of 2018.

John Coldwater


Matthew S. Bonnie

Officer John Coldwater is currently assigned to the K9 Division for the Village of Shorewood Police Department with his partner “Rookie,” a 2 year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. Rookie is trained in tracking, articles, and narcotics. Officer Coldwater received his assignment in October 2017. Before becoming the K9 Officer, he served the department as a Juvenile Officer, Evidence Technician, Field Training Officer, and served 6 years on the Traffic Unit. Officer Coldwater has been in Law Enforcement for 12 years and received his training at the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.


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