A Seymour woman was so touched by a random act of kindness that she decided to pay it forward in a big way.
Ruth Myers said her decision to save up enough money to purchase a K-9 bulletproof vest for the Seymour Police Department was the result of someone doing something nice for her.
As a dog lover, Myers is concerned about the welfare of all dogs, from strays and those at animal shelters to search-and-rescue dogs and dogs that serve and protect people.
“I’d kind of had the thought for a while. It had been at the back of my mind,” she said of wanting to do something to help animals in the community. She already volunteers at the Humane Society of Jackson County by walking dogs.
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But what really brought forth the idea was the kindness another person showed her, she said.
When Myers goes to work at JCPenney, she takes her chihuahua, Marmie, to K9 Campers so he’s not left home alone. One day, when she went in to pick Marmie up, someone already had paid Marmie’s day care fee.
“That impressed me in such a huge way that I prayed and told God that I wanted to do something that leaves as big of an impression on someone or many people as that did for me,” she said. “That’s when it really came forth that this is what I was supposed to do.”
Myers said she had no idea how she was going to get the money to pay for the vest until God made it possible.
“All of a sudden, I got all these extra hours at work, and that’s how it all came about,” she said. “I’m just totally excited that I’m able to do this.”
She sent an email to the police department letting them know she was interested in paying for a K-9 vest.
“I didn’t even know how many dogs that the police department had, so I’m like, ‘I can only do one,'” she said.
On Friday, Myers visited the police department to hand over a check for $400 to pay for a bulletproof vest for K-9 Ace, the department’s only police dog at this time.
Although K-9 vests can cost $1,000 or more, depending on the size, style and features, the Seymour Police Department was able to get a discounted price on the vest from Bulletproof-It LLC.
Myers said she was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Ace, his handler, Officer Adam Surface, and Police Chief Bill Abbott.
Ace is a 6½-year-old Dutch shepherd and has been working with Surface on the streets for five years.
Since Seymour has just one K-9, it has only one vest, but it was old when Surface started using it for his first dog seven and a half years ago, he said. The vests are only supposed to be effective for a five-year period, at which time it’s recommended they are replaced.
“We’ve worked without a vest, so it’s great to have a new one,” he said.
Since Ace has worn a vest in the past, Surface said it won’t take him long to get used to wearing another one.
“It’s similar to the tracing harness he wears now, and he has had it on several times already,” he said. “It doesn’t really bother him.”
With all of the petting and kind words Ace received from Myers, he seemed just as appreciative of the love and attention as he did the vest. Surface said he is very grateful for Myers’ donation.
“It’s nice to see the public come forward and want to help,” he said. “Out there working the streets, we deal with a lot of people who are negative toward us all the time, and to see somebody want to help us, that’s huge for morale. It keeps us going when the community wants to get involved and they’re for us. That helps out in more ways than you can ever imagine.”
Myers considers her donation selfish in a way.
“Ace keeps our officers safe, and our officers keep us safe,” she said. “I really want people to think about what these gentlemen do and everybody here at the police department what they actually do for us every day. They walk out that door, and they don’t know if they are coming back.”
K-9s often are the first ones deployed to go after a criminal who is hiding or on the run.
“He doesn’t know fear,” Surface said. “His brain is not going to protect him like ours does when it tells us to pull back and call for backup.”
Although it’s not every day that someone does something nice for the police department, Abbott said it’s also not completely out of the ordinary.
“There’s a swing in the way the community thinks of the police department,” he said. “Right now, a lot of bigger police departments don’t have a lot of community support, and I think we are very fortunate here that we traditionally have quite a bit of community support.”
Myers said she wants to challenge the community to raise around $25,000 to fund another K-9 for the Seymour Police Department. Traditionally, the K-9 program is funded through drug seizure money and donations.
“I would love to see that happen,” Myers said.