VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Two Virginia Beach Police dogs are now better protected thanks to the donations from local citizens, including an 11-year-old girl.
The fruit of those donations was on display at the department's K-9 Unit, which brought smiles to the unit's supervisor, Sgt. Chris Tull.
"To have the community and individuals wanting to help out, wanting to protect our partners really means a lot," said Sgt. Tull.
Sgt. Tull showed off two police dog vests those donations helped purchase.
"We brought the vest out for y'all to see so you can see actually what you donated for - what the dogs are getting. It's got the dog's name there and then the donor," he said.
Donors like 11-year-old Alexis Mattingly explain how they raised money.
"We did bake [sales] and craft sales at my mom's work, and in the neighborhood we made dog treats and cat treats and sold those," Alexis said.
She didn't stop there; she chose a different path regarding her birthday presents.
"I didn't want gifts; I asked for donations," she said.
All her hard work paid off to get a police dog named Spike a $2,500 bulletproof vest. These Kevlar vests have been combat-tested and proven to save the lives of police dogs.
Alexis feels really good about that.
"It's jut really cool and I'm happy to know that, that dog is going to be protected," she said.
Spike's K-9 handler, Officer Chris Foxwell, is very grateful.
"This means a lot to me. These partners live to protect and serve. This is family," Officer Foxwell said.
For those reasons, News 3 presented Alexis with a People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank. Her mom, Holly Mattingly, says she's not surprised by her daughter's generosity.
"She's always had a kind heart; she's always been giving," Holly said.