MORRISVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) --For many officers, the reality of the job is that danger could be just a dispatch call away.
However on Friday, a Morrisville police officer, along with his partner, became a little bit safer thanks to a generous donation.
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Senior K-9 Officer Carl Rodrigues' partner, 2-year-old Arko, is now outfitted with a vest that could be the difference between life and death.
"Outside of my wife and kids, is my worse fear to lose him ... it would crush me," Rodrigues said. "He's with me more than my wife, more than my kids."
Arko is a Dutch Shepard. He and officer Rodrigues have been working together for close to a year.
On Friday, Arko demonstrated the versatility of his new vest.
Stab proof and bullet proof, the custom made vest weighs a mere three pounds. It is lightweight compared to previous vests K9 dogs have sported around Morrisville - which were bulky and unwearable for extended periods of time.
The $2,500 vest was made possible by James Hatch and the Spike K-9 fund. It is a fund Hatch started when he returned from deployment.
"I was in the military a little under 26 years and part of the time I was a dog handler and dogs saved my life quite a bit, and during that time we lost quite a few of them," he said.
Hatch says that they have aided in raising funds for Kevlar vests for K-9 units across the country, but wants to help more departments in North Carolina.
"We have had families tell us that we feel better about our dad going to work because the dog has the vest on ... dogs save lives," Hatch said.
"We as officers we come to work with our vests on all of the time we ask these dogs to do a lot, and we pay them in dog food, the least we can do is provide them with the same level of protection," Rodrigues said.
If you would like to donate to the Spike K-9 fund, visit http://spikesk9fund.org
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