DuWayne Schwartz

I am with the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Local 275, Neenah, WI. I have been there going on 21 years. My rank is a Fire Inspector.

The well-being of our military personnel and veterans, as well as our professionals in public safety has been a passion of mine. With PTSD and suicides on the rise over the last couple of years, I wanted to come up with a way I could give back and volunteer my time. Something different and laid back. Something less formal.

So I did a lot of research on service dogs and how a Facility Dog could benefit these individuals. I did a lot of networking and collaborating with professionals in this area and different organizations. Through that I made some connections and decided the best route would be for me to start a nonprofit organization.

So that’s when a started the process to come up with “Operation K-9 Hero”, a volunteer based nonprofit organization dedicated to our military, veterans, police, fire and paramedics who might need a little extra support through a K9 Therapy Dog. Starting a nonprofit organization and to become a 501.c.3 charity is not an easy task and is time consuming.

I figured a Facility Dog being utilized as a Therapy Dog would be a great conversation started and an ice-breaker to help be there for someone in need.

So I came across “Tio” who was in service dog training as a puppy. Tio and I started training together and he seemed to be the perfect match for me and Operation K-9 Hero and our mission. From there we became a certified Therapy Dog team, and he is now my partner.

This is our journey….helping others through a K9-human partnership.

October 20, 2021

Operation K9 Hero- DuWayne Schwartz

Enduring the Badge is a podcast series that explores the personal side of first responders. In this episode, me and DuWayne Schwartz from Operation K9 Hero talked about his and Tio's (his K9 therapy dog) mission on how they shed light on PTSD and mental health issues of first responders. This is a great episode for anyone interested in learning about how dogs can be used to help others cope with mental health issues. The power of dogs in healing has been around for centuries. Dogs like Tio (who you can see on picture here) and DuWayne Schwartz' K9 hero dog handler are there for you whether for therapy or just companionship; They will provide much more than protection but also bring great joy into someone’s life by simply being there.

Mental Health First Responders Society & Culture Mindset First