WEST HAVEN \u2014 Portland police Sgt. Jim Kelly is resting easier knowing his police dog, Magnus, is protected by a ballistic vest \u2014 and he owes it all to local dog walker Brittany Murphy. \u201cI\u2019m ecstatic. \u2026 It gives me comfort to know he\u2019s vested,\u201d said Kelly, who received the bulletproof\/stab-proof vest over the weekend. \u201cI was thrilled to hear she was undertaking this project to raise money \u2014 it\u2019s not an easy task.\u201d Murphy, 23, started the mission last year \u2014 with hopes of reaching the goal by her 25th birthday, but COVID-19 derailed the fundraising. Rather than give up, she persevered even though the fundraising climate still isn\u2019t the same as it was pre-pandemic. But for Murphy, it was mission accomplished before her 26th birthday, which is July 26. \u201cI decided for my birthday I\u2019d rather give back. I\u2019m a huge canine supporter and a huge police supporter,\u201d she said. Murphy loves animals \u2014 especially dogs \u2014 and has worked at a few animal hospitals, volunteered at shelters and now earns money walking dogs. \u201cSometimes I feel they\u2019re better than humans because they actually understand,\u201d she said. \u201cI love them.\u201d Murphy loves police and dogs so much that she attends the Police K-9 Olympics each year. Murphy was connected to the Portland department just on the other side of Middletown by the organization Brady\u2019s K9 Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to donating \u201cballistic vests to police and military working dogs,\u201d its website states. Murphy said the West Haven Police Department wasn\u2019t in need of a vest. To date, the nonprofit has vested 404 K-9 officers around the nation, the Brady\u2019s website notes. \u201cWe want the K-9s who protect our communities across the United States to be protected their entire shift by a ballistic vest, just like their human partners,\u201d the organization says. The organization was started by CEO and founder Brady Snakovsky, a fifth-grader; his mother, Leah Tornabene, is the chief operating officer and married to a police officer, according to the organization. Magnus, 11\/2 years old, is still maturing, but he\u2019s \u201cintelligent\u201d and \u201cproactive,\u201d Kelly said. Magnus can sniff anything but bombs and assists in apprehensions, tracking, building searches and narcotics investigations. He\u2019s the only K-9 on the 12-member Portland force, but often assists other departments, including Middletown, which has four dogs. Kelly said they heavily rely on donations such as Murphy\u2019s in the K-9 program. He previously had a police K-9, Nero, 5, who died from an aggressive form of skin cancer. Murphy, who raised about $600 of the $1,200 last year, said she had to rely heavily on family and friends for donations, including her boyfriend, Chris Dmytruk, who gave $500, and his family. She also contributed some of the money she\u2019s earned dog-walking. Murphy presented Magnus and Kelly with the vest informally and he gave her a $50 gift card and took her and her family out to lunch. Best of all, she got to meet Magnus. \u201cHe\u2019s a very friendly big boy,\u201d she said.