PINE BEACH – K-9 Keto was recently released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
Keto, a K-9 officer with the Pine Beach Police Department, and his partner Officer Russell Okinsky, lost their home to a fire Aug. 18. Everyone was evacuated; however, Okinsky’s other dog, Lola, succumbed to injuries the next day. She was the family’s 8-year-old dog.
Keto suffered from smoke inhalation but was discharged from the hospital Aug. 19.
“We’re now focusing on helping Russ and Keto rebuild their life and give them all of the continued love and support that they need,” Sue DesMarais said via her Facebook page. She’s president of the K-9 Valor Task Force, of which Okinsky and Keto are members. “Russ has read each and every comment you all have made and he is incredibly thankful and grateful for each and every one of you.”
DesMarais suffered her own tragedy, when back in July 2012 her house caught fire when she wasn’t home. Her dogs—Chaos, Piglet, Toby, Odin, and Dascha—were trapped inside. While emergency workers used special equipment to resuscitate the animals, Chaos was already dead when DesMarais arrived on the scene.
She started the K-9 Valor Task Force to raise money to purchase bulletproof vests and other needed equipment for Police K-9 Units. They also purchase pet oxygen masks for fire departments and other first responders, and train them and pet owners in pet CPR.
Donations toward that work can be made at gofundme.com/keto-the-kanine-dog-police-dog.
The American Legion Riders Post 129 and the Blue Knights of New Jersey XV are hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Okinsky and Keto 2-6 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Post, 2025 Church Road in Toms River. Tickets are $15 pp and donations are welcomed.
For more information about that fundraiser, call Art at 732-674-5169.
The Pine Beach Republican Club will hold a benefit for the Okinsky family Sept. 7 at Lakewood BlueClaws. Tickets are $11 pp. All proceeds will go to the family through PBA 253.
For tickets and information, write to Patrolman Phil Schena at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-monetary donations can be dropped off at the Beachwood First Aid Squad, 4 Beachwood Blvd. The family can use clothing, gift cards and dog supplies.
For Officer Okinsky: 34 regular pants, size large shirts, socks and size 14 shoes.
For other family members living at the house:
Nephew: shirt: L or XL kids Pants: 10 slim kids Shoe: size 3
Brother: Shirt: L or XL adult Pants: L. Shoe: size 12 or 13
Sister: Shirt: XL Pants: 14-16 or XL
Mom: Shirt: XL. Pants: 14-16 or XL
Checks or money orders can be made out to PBA 253, Memo line “Officer Okinsky,” and mailed to P.O. Box 253, Beachwood NJ 08722.