http://www.therecordherald.com/news/20171006/nonprofit-designed-to-help-dogs-and-their-owners A love of dogs has bred a new business serving them. MRK9 is a new nonprofit with the goal of helping dogs, especially German Shepherds. The organization was founded by Bart Stevens, owner of Marsh Run Kennels in Washington Township, after a German Shepherd which had been a client of the kennel, was put down at a local shelter. “We saw a need for someone to stand up for these dogs and be their voice,” explained Betsy Ayers, president of MRK9 and business manager at Marsh Run Kennels. The nonprofit, which is a registered 501(c)3, is designed to promote the safety, protection, preservation and education of certain large-breed dogs including, but not limited to shepherds. “We’re all about dogs, but especially German Shepherds,” Ayers explained. “We specialize in that breed.” As part of their services, MRK9 offers support to dog owners struggling with their pet. “Call us if you need help,” Ayers said. “A lot of people don’t want to give up their dog, but they don’t know what else to do with it.” The duo works with pets and their owners to keep them together. “If we can get the owner and dog together and explain to them what they need, they won’t end up having to go [to a shelter],” Ayers said. The first priority for MRK9 is to try to help pets stay successfully with their owners. If that isn’t possible, they may help re-home the dogs. She said animals that are surrendered to most shelters are given a certain amount of time to be re-homed and if that doesn’t happen, the animals could be put down. “We don’t do that. But we do evaluate every dog and we don’t just take in every dog,” she said. Since May, MRK9 has re-homed three German Shepherds. “We do this all at a very low cost just to be able to find the right home for these dogs,” Ayers said. In addition, MRK9 offers puppy classes for owners of any breed. “We want people to be aware we are there. If you have problems with your dog or need to re-home or have a training issue, whatever the issue is, we are there,” Ayers said.