Area car enthusiasts headed to Parsons Interstate Ford in Shippensburg Friday to hang out and help out man’s best friend.

Route 11 Cruz’n held their monthly Cruz’n Friday afternoon in support of local nonprofit Protection4Paws. More than 50 classic and modern cars lined the car dealership located just off Exit 29 of Interstate 81, and attendees enjoyed the sights and sounds all for a good cause.

“We hold these events for local car people that want to come out and have a good time. We supply ice cream and food courtesy of Parsons Interstate Ford, and they supplied the first 50 free ice creams to the cruisers that showed up,” said Cruz’n organizer Adam White. “We like police officers, we all do, and we like to make sure that they are well protected and they have service dogs that need to be taken care of.”

Protection4Paws is a volunteer, nonprofit organization whose goal is to assist and prevent heat exhaustion in police K-9s. Their primary mission is to raise funds to provide the police departments with the UltimateK9 Safety Kit.

The safety kit includes the AceK9 Heat Alarm system, which regulates the internal temperature of the vehicle and alerts the handler should the vehicle reach an unsafe temperature. The system also has a door pop function which allows the K-9 to be deployed from the cruiser remotely. Each kit is valued at approximately $2,600.

Volunteers from Protection4Paws were on hand at the Cruz’n, along with retired Pentagon Force Protection police K-9 Crazy, selling merchandise to help raise funds.

“We raise money to purchase equipment for canine officers and we donate that money for the police department at no charge,” said Protection4Paws president and founder Tina Richardson. “All of our money is raised through the events that we attend and selling our merchandise. So when we got the notification that we were having this event and [Route 11 Cruz’n] reached out to us, we were like ‘definitely’ because all of our events have been canceled this year. We want to share our mission.”

Protection4Paws recently purchased all of the equipment for K-9 Lock, the newest member of the Newville Police Department.

K-9 Lock, a 14-month old all black German Shepherd from Slovakia, came to Newville four weeks ago. He is currently being trained to detect narcotics, such as methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin at Castles K9 in Mechanicsburg. He is also being trained as a patrol dog.

“Protection4Paws is amazing. We can’t thank them enough for what they do,” said Newville Police Officer Shawn Gutshall. “I got my dog [K-9 Lock] just recently. We were in training and he chewed the wire off in my [police] van. The van was junk, so my chief had called in and asked AceK9 if we could get another van. They contacted Protection4Paws without even them contacting us and they said, ‘Yeah, we’ll take care of it.’ That tells you the type of people that they are.” 

Gutshall hopes K-9 Lock will complete his training and be out on the street by the end of this week.

Route 11 Cruz’n holds their Cruz’n at Parsons Interstate Ford the last Friday of each month, with each one benefiting a local charity.

They are also planning a car show at Shippensburg Memorial Park to raise money for Shippensburg Parks and Recreation. Fifty-two awards will be handed out, and more than 350 cars are expected. The Cruz’n Car Show will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 11.

Protection4Paws’ next big event is the Cruz’n for K-9s scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29, at Hagerstown Speedway.

The event will include a show and shine, K-9 demos and meet-and-greets, raffles, vendors, a dunking booth and more. Tickets for the event can be purchased in advance at: protection4paws.com.

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