By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Public agencies are always happy when public service groups step up to buy items not covered by their budget.

As Mike Schuh reports, the recipients in Laurel are now giving back.

Laurel Police Department Cpl. Jesse Conyngham is enroute to an armed robbery. At his side is his partner Gaston, a four-year-old German Shepard.

The two are on a scent trail at the robbery scene. Gaston confirms what store workers saw. The bad guy ran away this way.

“They advised it happened at the front door and they saw the suspect run down here,” Conyngham said.

Being here on a robbery call is a far cry from what we were doing just a few minutes before.

We were being shown what Gaston can do. A radio case was thrown into the grass. The dog has to find it. And he does.

Sitting down marks the spot and shows he found it.

Look at what Gaston is wearing: a bullet-protective and stab-resistant vest.

“The best feature about it is that it offers a level of protection that the dogs otherwise wouldn’t have,” Conyngham said. “In the past year or so, there was a Pittsburgh police k9 recently stabbed.”

These vests? They’re $950 each. All of Laurel’s five dogs have brand new ones. And they didn’t cost the city a dime.

The foundation, Vested Interest In K9’s, Inc., bought them all.

“They were able to give us a little piece of mind when he’s out on the street,” Conyngham said.

And now Gaston is returning the favor.

He’s the July centerfold for the 2015 Vested Interest In K9’s, Inc. calendar.

Dogs from all over the country are featured. All are seen wearing donated vests.

Calendar sales will pay for more vests.

“We were happy to return the favor,” Conyngham said.

Partners in time, ready should the bad guys get violent.

The calendars are for sale from the publisher. Click here for more information.

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