Emma Stanford dreams of being Flagler County's first female k9 officer
Palm Coast 11-year-old Emma Stanford wants to be Flagler County’s first female K9 officer, and has started a fundraiser to support K9 officers and their dogs.
When Emma first wanted a dog, the Stanfords considered getting a German shepherd. Her parents reached out to Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly for advice, and Staly sent a pair of K9 officers to talk to the Stanfords about owning the breed. Emma became enamored not just with German shepherds but with K9 handlers and their dogs.
After reaching out to K9 Officer Paul Puente of the San Gabriel Police Department on Instagram and receiving from him a plushie of his dog, Bentley, Emma got the idea of selling plushies based on Flagler County K9s.
“That’s where the adventure started,” said Carmen Stanford, Emma’s mother. She works for a company that has been designing and producing the plushies. There are eight K9s so far: Valor, Baro, Odin, Axle, Holmes, Tag, Jax and Marko, each with its name on its vest, each priced at $25.
“It’s been awesome,” she said. “Honestly overwhelming, unexpectedly great. I don’t know if it’s for the K9 unit, or if the community just really loves the plushies.”
Emma has no set monetary goal for the project, operating through EmmaLovesK9s.com. They plan to sell as many as they can for as long as they can, with all proceeds going to Flagler County K9s and their handlers.
“I have to order more,” Carmen Stanford said, “we’re running low again.”
Until Emma can realize her goal of joining the county’s K9 officers, she will continue going to school and volunteering with the Police Athletic League.
“She’s a child who has a dream,” Stanford said, “and it’s very exciting, She just wants to make sure the dogs and the handlers have what they need.”