Niki nominated for Animal Hall of Fame

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  • Frank Yevchak brought Niki to many events throughout the township. Here, Niki meets the public during the 2010 Memorial Day services.

  • Niki in her full uniform was a symbol for the four-legged working dogs.

— Dr. Eric Louer is well known in his practice at the Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital in Hewitt. Louer has treated thousands of animals and he and his staff have donated much for the betterment of animals in the township and beyond.

Now, Louer has nominated a well-known West Milford dog for the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association Animal Hall of Fame. Here is the text of Louer's nomination letter.

"The doctors and staff of Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital proudly nominate “Niki” Yevchak for NJVMA Animal Hall of Fame. Niki does not just meet one of your selection criteria, but as mascot for and working dog of West Milford Township Security Resource Officer, she exceeded the requirements in multiple areas. Through her services Niki was so well known by our whole community that upon her passing she even received an obituary in the local newspaper.

"As an abandoned German Shepard puppy, Niki had the good fortune to be rescued by the Yevchak family. A retired police officer, Frank Yevchak now works as a security resource officer in the West Milford School District. Mr. Yevchak has always been involved with local community activities especially when they involved students. In her three years of community service, Niki, dressed in full canine military uniform, attended over 20 parades, festivals, and other outdoor events. She brought honor to our canine soldiers and attracted positive attention. For example, veterans would express their gratitude for being remembered and the students who Mr. Yevchak safeguard would approach Niki to pet her. Niki brought these two groups of people on an inspirational journey that swept up our community.

"Mr. Yevchak realized that when Niki served as a community sentry, she awakened in our community an unspoken emotion we have for our military. Mr. Yevchak enlisted the help of the DECA students who would set up bake sales at almost every community event. Niki would be out in front, inviting people to visit the booth and learn about our four legged soldiers. Niki was so successful that West Milford now has its own chapter of which raises funds that are used to acquire canine protective gear as well as other needed supplies. Niki’s efforts led to the procurement of needed supplies for both two- and four-legged soldiers. In the course of three years, 287 care packages were mailed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Packages were sent directly to 15 soldiers who then distributed the contents to hundreds of military handlers and their dogs.

"The doctors and staff at Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital adored Niki who came in for routine exams as well as stopping in from time to time for meet and greet moments with staff and clients. With the help of the Girl Scouts and DECA students, we organized another fundraiser in March 2011, but unfortunately by the date of the event, Niki had passed over Rainbow Bridge. While her mission ended, her torch was passed onto Lucky, who is in training to be a therapy dog and Canine Soldier Mascot by Mr. Yevchak.

"We hope that you honor Niki and, in conjunction, those military dogs she served by inducting her to the Animal Hall of Fame."

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