9-year-old raises thousands to help police K-9s nationwide stay safe

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An effort to help police dogs and their handlers across the country, and here in Connecticut, 'come home safe together' has been fronted by a 9-year-old boy from Ohio.

When Fairfield police officer Evan Kaesmann's shift ends, his partner Maverick stays right by his side. Miles and miles away, Brady Snakovsky has had dreams of being just like him since he was 2 years old.

"Every day, every morning, I dressed up as a police officer," says Snakovsky. "I made my friends call me Officer Brady. And if they didn't, I was like, no, call me Officer Brady."

Even though he has a ways to go, the Strongsville, Ohio, native already knows the dangers police and their K-9s face on the job. He says while watching the show "Live PD" he noticed that many police K-9s don't wear vests.

"Their dogs can get really injured from someone with a gun," says Snakovsky.

Kaesmann says anything his department does for their K-9s comes from donations. Some big-ticket items like vests are not accessible to them because of that.

Knowing that’s the case for many K-9 units is what led Snakovsky to start the fundraiser, Brady's K9 Fund. He had hoped to raise enough money for one ballistic vest, which typically costs around $1,200. Family and friends got wind and he quickly had enough for four vests.
The donations kept pouring in, and a year and a half later, Snakovsky raised $135,000. He's now vested more than 100 K-9s across the country, including 24 in Connecticut, one of which is Maverick.
"Knowing that he has some level of protection is awesome because it would be devastating if something were to happen to him," says Kaesmann.
What started out as a small fundraiser on GoFundMe has turned into a national, 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a 9-year-old at the helm, who remains dedicated to doing well in school and sports.
"Sometimes it's overwhelming, but then when it comes time for Brady to hand over the vest, it's completely worth it, because I see the gratitude from the officers and the smile on Brady's face," says Leah Tornabene, Brady's mom.
Canadian company LOF Defense Systems has collaborated with Brady's K9 Fund to manufacture the vests. They weigh about 3 pounds, and the K-9s are able to wear them for their entire shift.

In addition to Fairfield, Brady's K9 Fund has vested police dogs in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford and several other Connecticut communities.

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