Good doggie. Safe doggie.

Published 10:23 am Saturday, July 17, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT—Ever since Josie Kremer read a story about a police dog getting killed in the line of duty because he was not wearing a bullet/stab-proof vest, she has been worried about the K-9 Division at Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Department.

The dogs do not have vests because of budget cutbacks, so Josie is doing something about it.

The 11-year-old daughter of a Smithfield veterinarian, Josie wrote to the sheriff’s department and asked if she could raise money to pay for vests for the two dogs.

“We were in the process of applying for a grant to do this,” said the Sheriff’s Secretary Eileen Smith. “The entire department was astounded. This was one of the most compassionate things we had ever heard of.”

Smith said she coordinated a meeting with the K-9 Division, which included Auxiliary Deputy Trish Warren and Deputy O. B. Wilson; their dogs, Duke and Bo-Jo; and Josie and her mother, Ellen.

“Josie took to the dogs right away,” said Smith. “You can tell she loves animals.”

The K-9 Division, officially a little more than a year old, consists of Warren and her yellow lab, Duke, who is certified in tracking and narcotics detection, and Wilson and his Malawire, Bo-Jo, certified in explosives detection.

Warren and Duke trained with Wilson, who is a member of Virginia Canine. Both dogs, who were certified through the Virginia Police Work Dog Association, live with their handlers and are called upon when the occasion arises.

Even before she met the dogs, Josie had planned a way to raise the money. She is placing donation jars with a picture of the dogs and their handlers, and an appeal for funds in several businesses and restaurants. Josie and her mom will purchase the jars.

The vests cost about $1,000 each, said Smith.

“I do hope Josie has good luck with this because she is so dedicated to helping Duke and Bo-Jo,” Smith said.

Josie’s mom said Josie has a big heart for animals and is determined to help when it comes to their welfare.

“She’ll make this work,” she said.

Josie’s can be reached at 757 365-4817. Her address is 108 Water Pointe Lane, Smithfield, Va., 23430