It's your birthday. Your loved ones bring you gifts. Some of the gifts are cash. Time to splurge? On what? For a nine-year-old in Little Silver, it's a brand-new protective vest for one of the furry K9 stalwarts of the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office.

In Freehold today, Will Aninowsky and some of his buddies presented the bulletproof vest to K9 Fuze and Sheriffl's Officer Ralph Irizzary, and accepted the thanks of Sheriff Shaun Golden. Fuze is trained to sniff out explosives, a stressful occupation that requires top-notch protection.

The idea struck young Will after he and the other members of Little Silver's Cub Scout Pack 3 watched demonstrations staged by the dogs and their partners. He supplemented his birthday gifts through a crowdfunding page, and raised $1,000.

"After I got to meet the police dogs through Cub Scouts, I thought it would be important for the dogs to have bullet proof vests," the boy explained. "Then I thought I could use my birthday money to buy the dog a vest. It makes me happy to keep a dog safe." Each canine vest costs an average of $850 to $1,000.

"Will's birthday wish will enhance the safety of our K-9s and the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office is extremely grateful for his generosity and dedication," Golden said.

"Members of our K- 9 Unit are called upon year-round to assist local police departments with narcotics detection, explosive detection and criminal or missing person searches and it's crucial they are protected while maintaining public safety."

Will's dad, Bill Aninowsky, beamed. "I'm proud of my son for taking on such a worthy cause. These K-9s are an incredible resource in maintaining safety throughout Monmouth County and it's also a great way to show our appreciation to law enforcement."

Fuze and Irizzary are one of two explosives/patrol teams. The eight K9s and seven handlers also entail three narcotics/patrol teams, one explosives team, one tracking team and one narcotics team.

Donations to the Sheriff's K9 unit can be transacted through the Monmouth County Treasurer. Checks should be payable to the Monmouth County Treasurer, and should be enclosed with a letter that designates the MCSO K9 Donation Fund, and sent to 2500 Kozloski Road, Freeehold Township NJ 07728

If an individual would like to make a donation to the MCSO's K-9 Unit, all checks should be made payable to the Monmouth County Treasurer with a letter indicating the funds are for the MCSO K-9 Donation Fund and sent to 2500 Kozloski Rd., Freehold Twp., N.J, 07728.

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