Allison Henry knew what she wanted for her 10th birthday, and it wasn’t anything for herself. Allison wanted to make sure her local police dog was safe, so instead of accepting gifts she requested donations to raise money for a protective vest for her local police dog Ryker.
Allison learned back in February that the Holyoke Police Department was restoring its police canine unit. Ryker, an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois mix is the first member of the new unit. Allison’s family have made it a tradition to help others on their birthdays. Allison and her sister Kathryn still get parties but they make it a point to help others as well.
“Every year for my birthday, I pick a charity to donate to and this year I chose Ryker of the Holyoke Police Department. I am an animal lover. I don’t want animals to be hurt,” said Allison.
Allison collected $130 between her birthday and the first week in May. She then contacted the Holyoke Rotary Club and requested the opportunity to speak. By the time she spoke before the Rotary Club on Tuesday she had raised $375. After Allison spoke, members donated $325 to her cause bringing her total to $700. The club then chipped in the remaining $250 Allison needed for Ryker’s vest.
“She is not the typical 10-year-old girl,” said Police Chief James M. Neiswanger.
Now that the money is raised Ryker’s handler will complete the paperwork to get Ryker his specially made vest. The non-profit Vested Interest in K-9s Inc. will be providing the vest. It will take about three months for the vest to be made for Ryker’s specific measurements.