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Rising Stars: Meet Kristen Maurer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Maurer.

Hi Kristen, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
In my previous life, I owned a private investigation company. However, I didn’t do normal PI work. I trained a dog to detect narcotics. Her name was Roxie, and she and I would search homes, businesses and schools for drugs. Although we lived in Houston, Roxie and I did our training and certification in Dallas.

One of the weekends when We were headed to Dallas to train, I was asked to pick up a military dog at the airport. The dog was flying in from Kuwait and needed to get to Dallas.

It was at that time that I met this woman who introduced me to the plight of the retired military working dog. I learned that military dogs were not being reunited with their handlers, and were not getting the retirement that they deserved. I wanted to help. Soon after, this woman introduced me to my business partners; Louisa Kastner, who was a vet tech in the Army and Bob Bryant, who is a computer marketing guru. The woman went on to pursue other things, and I couldn’t let go of the thought that these dogs needed our help. So, I reached out to Louisa and Bob and asked if they wanted to start an organization with me.

Soon after, I wrote the 501 (c) 3, and Mission K9 was born.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road was far from smooth, and there were many obstacles along the way.

The first was learning how to write a 501(c) 3. That took some time, next was learning how to properly run a non-profit organization. I enrolled in graduate school at The University of Houston- Downtown. This in itself lead to another obstacle, and that was working 80 hours a week on the organization while obtaining my Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management. I was so grateful that my husband allowed me to do all of this, because I didn’t get a salary for three years.

Another obstacle was the fact that the K9 world was a man’s world, and although Bob is a man, Louisa and I are not, and that made it extremely challenging to gain the trust of the kennel masters and handlers. Mission K9 was blessed to have a good friend name Ron Aiello who had a very reputable organization called The United States War Dogs Association, and it was Ron that gave us the credibility that we needed to get started.

A common obstacle of most non-profit organizations is always money, and while Bob is amazing at what he does, we did then and do today, spend more and more to help the dogs in our care. Louisa and I have a hard time turning down any working dog in need, and that makes Bob’s job more challenging.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Mission K9 Rescue is a non-profit organization that Rescues, Reunites, Re-Homes, Rehabilitates and Repairs any retired working dog, who has served mankind.

We are the first and the largest organization to care for these amazing four-legged heroes.

86% of every dollar donated to Mission K9 goes directly to our work. We have reunited over 500 Military K9/Handler teams, and we have rescued over 1000 retired working dogs since 2013, rehabilitated them (either medically or emotionally) and placed them into loving homes. In addition, we spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars annually on their medical care.

We believe that these dogs give us their complete dedication and loyalty during their service, and it is our duty to return that loyalty when they retire.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
I have many amazing childhood memories, and all include animals. However, one that I always thought was the best was that my aunt had horses behind her house. It was a field across the street from Hobby Airport. That field is now where the Hobby Hilton sits today. I can remember riding horses in that field and then riding them up to the local convenience store for candy.

It is either that memory or the family vacations to New Braunfels (Camp Warneke) and Galveston. I have always been a water baby, and even today, I love spending my free time at the beach with my husband and our dogs.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Janet Detulva
Ares and Emzy Photography

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