Other NJ News

Somerville: K9 Children’s Book Author Donates Proceeds to Buy Protective Vest for K9 Basilone

5b8a605bd452985092b4_sompixK9basilone2.JPG
K9 Basilone. the newest member of the Somerset County Sheriff's Department. Credits: Rod Hirsch
0ddf454d79ab65eea160_sompixK9book.jpg
Sales of "The Adventures of Solo, The Big Dog" children's book are used to purchase armored vests for K9 police dogs. Credits: Courtesy Big Dog Books
557c1c14ccabf1a38035_sompixK9basilone1.JPG
Somerset County Sheriff's Officer Shannon Dinella with partner K9 Basilone. Credits: Rod Hirsch
59e27675523e61ceddc3_sompixK9basilonetomwiaterauthor.jpeg
"The Adventures of Solo, The Big Dog" author Tom Wiater holds a K9 armored vest. Credits: Courtesy Tom Wiater
27320ed2fbf713c3cb35_sompixK9basilone3.JPG
Shannon DiNella works and lives with K9 Basilone 24/7, 365 days a year. The dog returns home with her when their shift is completed. Credits: Rod Hirsch
09fbf62bf5e3979f82ff_sompixK9basilonegroup.JPG
Sheriff Frank Provenzano, at right, introduces the K9s and their partners: Officer Shannon DiNella and K9 Basilone; Officer Al Bauer with K9 Diesel and K9 Billy and Officer Dave Daneker with K9 Apex. Credits: Courtesy Somerset County Sheriff's Office
1fde95c169ddb6d008a0_sompixjohnbasilone.jpg
Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, shown wearing his Medal of Honor.
d68b39a3c4df1534c922_sompixjohnbasilonememorial.jpg
The John Basilone Memorial in Raritan. Credits: Rod Hirsch
5b8a605bd452985092b4_sompixK9basilone2.JPG

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Author Jim Wiater came up with the story by chance. He was multi-tasking – driving the car and entertaining his young daughters, Nikki and Kaci with a story that he made up as he drove.  

Over the years, he expanded and refined the story line, sat down, and began to write. Finally, last year, he self-published “The Adventures of Solo, The Big Dog,”nearly 12 years after the story was first conceived, inspired by the bravery of a real-life K9.

It is a children’s book, about a K9 police dog, but it goes beyond teaching children value lessons - “The Adventures of Solo, The Big Dog” helps to protect other K9s on the job.

Sign Up for E-News

Proceeds from the sale of each book are used to underwrite the expense of body armor for K9s, as well as other customized K9 equipment. It takes about 60 books to buy a custom K9 vest, according to Wiater.

“Actually, make that 59, I sold one yesterday,” Wiater said Wednesday.

Each vest is custom fit after the dog has been measured to ensure maximum comfort during an 8- 10- or 12-hour shift, he said.

Next in line for a fitted armor vest is K9 Basilone, a 14-month-old black and brown German Shepherd, the newest officer in the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, trained in article search and tracking.

Born in January, 2016 in the Slovak Republic, Basilone came to America one year later and was assigned to Somerset County Sheriff’s K9 Officer Shannon DiNella on March 9.

He completed training at the Union County K9 Academy with DiNella on May 11.

DiNella was paired with Basilone after an extensive application process and evaluation by her superior officers.  

As a member of the 4H “Woof Dog Club,” she had spent several years working with and training dogs in obedience and agility; she also competed as a handler at American Kennel club shows.

She said there was “instant chemistry” with her new partner.

“The other officers in the academy used to make fun of me, that the dog had big crush on me,” DiNella said. He rarely needed to be corrected during his training.

“This dog would heel by my side, gaze up into my eyes for my approval; it’s as if he were saying ‘Aren’t you proud of me?’ ’’ she said.

There are three other K9s in the Sheriff’s Department.

K9 Diesel is paired with Sheriff Officer Al Bauer; Diesel is trained for tracking and explosives detection. Bauer also is paired with K9 Billy, trained for arson investigations.

Sheriff Officer Dave Daneker partners with K9 Apex, trained to detect narcotics.

All K9s and their partners are on call 24/7, 365 days a year and work with local police departments throughout Somerset County and beyond.

K9 Basilone, as do the other dogs, returns home with their partners once their shift is completed.

K9 Basilone is named in honor of USMC Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone who was killed in action during World War II and buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A resident of Raritan, Basilone received the Medal of Honor at the battle of Guadalcanal and the Navy Cross for his valor during the battle of Iwo Jima, where he was killed. Basilone is the only Marine to receive both honors during World War II.

K9 Basilone, accompanied by DiNella, the other K9s and their partners, was introduced at a Raritan Borough Council meeting in May.

Since publication in January, 750 copies of the book have been sold; proceeds have purchased K-9 body armor for three other dogs, as well as a K9 first aid field trauma kits, a K9 cooling vest, and Pet Oxygen Mask kits requested by local police departments, prosecutor and sheriff offices in New Jersey, according to Wiater.

A resident of Millstone in Monmouth County, Wiater is the carpentry teacher at Piscataway Vo-Tech.

The real life K9 Solo was killed in the line of duty in Bradley Beach in 1998. Touched by the story of the dog’s bravery, Wiater told a gathering of the New Jersey State PBA that he made a promise to himself then that he would purchase a bullet proof vest for a K9 officer.

He's now working on Number Four, and intends to grow that number.

The author encourages other police agencies to request K9 armor or other equipment; requests are handled on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.

More information can be found online at BigDogBooks.net and at GoFundMe, Friends of Solo/K9 equipment on Facebook.

The single-copy price for “The Adventures of Solo, The Big Dog,” is $18.70, plus shipping and handling. To purchase a copy online visit Bigdogbooks.net or email Jim@bigdogbooks.net.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Milltown/Spotswood

City Outlines $340K Parks Improvement Project, Plans To Create One More

June 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - City officials today outlined plans to improve to four municipal parks - at a cost of nearly $340,000 - and announced plans for creation of another park on a lot where previously there stood three abandoned homes.

Mayor James Cahill’s office said the city council tonight will consider resolutions allocating $150,000 for an agreement with the private, non-profit agency ...

Thousands Expected in Hillsborough for Sourland Music Festival

June 20, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – The Sourland Music Festival will be held Saturday, June 23 from 3-10 p.m. at the Hillsborough Golf & Country Club at 146 Wertsville Road, rain or shine, to benefit the Sourland Conservancy.

Discounted advance-sale tickets are available online only, Children under 12 are admitted free.

“We’ve got a really powerful lineup of the region’s most ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, July 14, 10:00 AM

Maplewood Memorial Library, Maplewood

Bag-of-Books Sale - Friends of Maplewood Library

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Girl Scout Seeks Donations of Craft Items Tomorrow

June 7, 2018

Hi, EB Community, 

 
I am Alexandra Gonzalez. I am currently a Junior at EBHS. I am as well a Girl Scout and working on my Gold Award. I am in search of donations and would like to inform you on the issue my project will address, how you can help, and why this is important. 

The project I am working on will be impacting the Special education students in East Brunswick Public ...

What Do TSA Officers Want Travelers To Know?

June 20, 2018

RICHMOND, VA  – You come to an airport checkpoint hoping to catch your flight and arrive at your destination safely and on time. Seems simple enough, but sometimes something you weren’t expecting comes up at the checkpoint and it slows you down.

Meet Deborah Simms and Ryan Seymour, Transportation Security Administration officers at Richmond International Airport (RIC).

Third-annual Juneteenth Parade and Heritage Festival in New Brunswick this Weekend

June 13, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Vulcan Pioneers of New Brunswick, comprising the city's Black Fire Fighters Association, will host the Juneteenth Parade on Saturday, June 16 to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth celebrations are held across the country to mark the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865. That state was one of the last locations to learn of ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...