When an Ohio police dog named Jethro was tragically killed in a shootout with a burglary suspect in January, donations and letters of condolences poured into the department.
One letter in particular touched the hearts of the officers and their K-9 partners.
It was from an 11-year-old girl named Allison, who wrote to say she wanted to use her allowance money toward bulletproof vests for other dogs in the Canton Police Department's K-9 unit.
"I sorry about Jethro,'' she wrote. "So here is my allowance for the bulletproof vests. God bless you and the dogs."
Officer Ryan Davis, who was Jethro's handler, was particularly touched by the gesture.
Davis declined to speak to TODAY about his slain partner, but expressed his gratitude through Officer Eric Stanbro, a Canton police K-9 trainer.
"Officer Davis has a soft spot in his heart for kids, as we all do, and when he and his family opened this particular letter it just hit home,'' Stanbro said.
The little girl's donation is part of a heartwarming effort in Jethro's memory that includes an online fund-raiser that has brought in more than $37,000 to buy bulletproof dog vests.
"The outpouring of support has been amazing and mind-blowing,'' Stanbro told TODAY. "Letters and artwork from all over the world. The vests have been funded and we are going through the process of measuring each dog for the company so each vest is custom made to fit."
Jethro was shot three times on Jan. 9 after officers responded to a burglary alarm at a local business.
A bullet to the face caused his brain to swell, and he died from his injuries the next day.
Kelontre Barefield, 22, the man accused of killing Jethro, has been indicted on multiple charges and could face up to 57 years in prison.
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