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COMMUNITY BUILDER: South Carolina woman with a heart for K9 officers

Barbara Harrill is the kind of person who defies the stereotype that you have to be a cat or a...
Barbara Harrill is the kind of person who defies the stereotype that you have to be a cat or a dog person. (Source: WIS)
Updated: Oct. 31, 2018 at 7:22 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Barbara Harrill is the kind of person who defies the stereotype that you have to be a cat or a dog person.

She may have cats at home, but her passion for the last decade has been providing for the dogs in our community.

Not just any dogs – K9 officers.

We caught up with Barbara Harrill, a Columbia woman who lives at the retirement community of Wildewood Downs in Columbia. She was hosting the 8th annual Meet and Greet with K9 officers and the community. It’s an event she hosts every year. This is the first time she held it at her own community.

"They are so much smarter than we are. So glad they can't talk,” Harrill said with a laugh. “But they protect us whether we want to be protected or not."

It’s also a time for the community to come together to honor the officers who train and work alongside those K9 officers.

"They are all such good people and we just don't appreciate what they do for us enough,” she said.

Harrill had blankets made for each K9 and lunch for each officer. It’s a small token of her appreciation each year, after she was inspired to start this event almost a decade ago. Ever since, she’s worked to raise funds and awareness for the work that K9 officers do for the community.

“The sheriff’s department dog, Fargo, took a bullet when he wasn’t wearing his vest,” Harrill said. “So I called CPD, Columbia Police and asked if their dogs were vested and they said they were trying to start to get them. So I got on the phone and called everyone in Columbia that I knew and nobody turned me down.”

Fargo died eight years ago. It’s been Harrill’s mission ever since that tragedy to facilitate the community’s involvement in providing for our law enforcement officers – both on two legs and on four.

It’s why we are honoring Harrill as our latest Community Builder in partnership with Mungo homes, which means she’ll get a $1,000 check to the charity of her choice. She said half will go to RCSD and half will go to CPD.

“I was very surprised but I love it,” Harrill said of the surprise award. “Whatever else they need they can call us all and tell us and we can work on it.”

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