MONTICELLO, Minn. (WCCO) – It’s a common summer treat – a kid’s lemonade stand that trades thirst-quenching drinks for dollars.

“She has a passion for helping people,” said Amy Larson, mother of 10-year-old Josie Larson.

Josie was watching a TV show about police dogs and was saddened when she learned of a K-9 that didn’t have a protective vest. The dog was stabbed and died while protecting its handler.

That’s when Josie put a sign to a card table and set up shop in front of her family’s home.

“It’s important to keep our K-9s and our officers safe,” Josie said.

(credit: CBS)

Josie quickly decided the money raised from her lemonade stand would go to the Wright County Sheriff’s K-9 unit.

“Because I have a heart for dogs,” Josie said.

Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer learned from his wife about a Facebook post which explained Josie’s fundraising effort. Deringer wasted no time in driving over to see for himself.

“Unbelievably humbling. It’s amazing that we have this 10-year-old girl who recognizes the need throughout the community for officer safety and K-9 safety,” Sheriff Deringer said.

Donations quickly topped Josie’s $1,000 goal – money made not only by selling lemonade, cookies and donuts, but also when a GoFundMe was created for her K-9 cause.

Wright County Deputy Dan Cotton and his K-9 partner Chase already have protective vests, so Cotton promises to put Josie’s money to good use on other necessary items.

“We started talking about other things like toys, equipment, leashes and bite sleeves, things like that. She lit up with a big smile and said, ‘I’ll buy those then,'” Cotton said.

Josie expects to close out her fundraising efforts in about a week and then present the funds to the Wright County Sheriff’s Department.

Bill Hudson

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