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Photos Provided By K9 Crew

Founded by former Cass County Drug Task Force analyst Joe Fluge, K9 Crew is a vital resource to at-risk youth in our community. Fluge is a certified dog trainer and used this passion to help combat addiction in young people. While many turn to addiction and harmful behaviors as a way to confront challenges, Fluge believes dog training is a way to combat that in young people.

We discussed K9 Crew and it’s importance in our community with Executive Director Ellen Solberg.

What is K9 Crew and how does it impact Fargo-Moorhead?
K9 Crew is a non-profit focused on building confidence in struggling youth through the care and training of dogs. It is a one-year-long program for the kids to receive a professional dog training education, mentorship, and opportunities for character/skill-building.

The background of K9 Crew kids is often one filled with depression, anxiety, struggles with autism, struggles with bullying, sexual trauma, neglect, suicide attempts, etc. K9 Crew also partners with animal shelters, by taking in some of the animals that aren’t being adopted. The kids train those animals obediently, modify any undesirable behaviors, and then we re-adopt them out.

What is the mission of K9 Crew?
K9 Crew is a veteran founded and veteran and NDSU student-operated organization. We exist in the realm of prevention services. K9 Crew believes in guiding our community’s youth early on into making good decisions, to mitigate the need for help and rehabilitation later on.

Where is K9 Crew planning to go in the future?
Our near-future goals are to find a better training facility for the program to operate in–something larger and more accommodating. Our long term goals include opening up several chapters of K9 Crew around the Midwest and then the United States. Our goal overall is to reach as many kids as possible.

For the kids specifically, what kind of positive impact does K9 Crew have on them?
The biggest progress that we’ve seen over time is in the K9 Crew kids, who leave after a year with confidence, communication skills and a more positive outlook on life. Some of our kids have lessened the number of prescription medications they’re on and some of them have stood up to or even made friends with their bullies.

How You Can Help K9 Crew
Despite what people may think, we are pretty full with both kids and dogs. At this moment, we are in need of sponsors for Giving Hearts Day. We’re always in need of people who are willing to organize and execute fundraising events. Any motivated, passionate person ready to volunteer who knows about running a nonprofit can definitely join our team! • 701-799-6808

Written by Brady Drake

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