Donation helps protect ‘Zeus’

ON DUTY — Zeus has been the K9 dog for Faribault County since October 2016. An anonymous donor has provided Zeus with a protective vest.

BLUE EARTH — Thanks to an anonymous donation, the hardest-working dog in Faribault County will now have the protection he deserves.

On Thursday, it was announced that the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit received a donation to purchase a protective vest for the unit’s dog, Zeus.

The donation was through Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., a non-profit organizations that provides bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement agencies in the United States. The organization was established in 2009 and has provided more than 2,800 protective vests throughout the country.

The vests are provided by the organization through charitable sponsors, who donate the money for the vests, which cost $950. In this case, the donation to the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office was made by an anonymous sponsor.

According to the Vested Interest in K9s website, a sponsor can opt to have the vest embroidered. On Zeus’ vest, it will read, “Honoring those who served and sacrificed.”

The Faribault County Sheriff’s Office K9 unit was started in October 2016 after Deputy Brittney Gehrking trained her dog Zeus to be a K9 dog.

Gehrking applied through the organization in late February. She said that although Zeus is usually only used for narcotics and tracking, there have been potentially dangerous situations in which he could have used extra protection.

“It’s nice to know that he’ll be protected like we are if we are ever ambushed,” Gehrking said. “It’s nice to have that added protection for him.”

Gehrking added that the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office is available to the public for demonstrations with Zeus. The number for the Sheriff’s Office is (507) 526-5148.