STOW — Maryanne Carlson does not live in the city, but she recently did a big favor for its police department.

On July 16, the Akron resident visited the police department and presented a check for $7,500, a donation for the police K-9 fund.

"We greatly appreciate Maryanne’s donation," said Police Chief Jeff Film. "People like Maryanne are why the Stow Police Department K-9 Unit has become such a strong staple in the community."

Carlson said it was something she had wanted to do for a long time.

"It was one of the best days of my life, I was so excited," she said.

Carlson said it went back two years ago when she attended the Citizen’s Police Academy, a joint venture of the Stow, Munroe Falls, Tallmadge and Cuyahoga Falls police departments.

"I was just awestruck," she said. "It’s a wonderful course. I learned so much about the police, so much we don’t know. I have even more respect for them than I did before I took the course. And being a dog lover, I was just stunned when we met three of the dogs. They put them through their paces."

Carlson said it gave her the idea to donate to a K-9 program. She works as a Halo nurse, working with patients being treated with external fixation devices at Akron General Hospital, talking to them and providing support, including stress management. About five or six months ago, Carlson met a Stow police officer at the hospital and told him she wanted to donate to a K-9 program and he contacted Sgt. Steve Miller, the department’s K-9 program supervisor.

At the time, the department was purchasing the newest of its three dogs, Diesel, for a little over $13,000, including training. Carlson wanted to help pay for Diesel, but she first had to work out how much she could afford and the city moved forward with its plans. Diesel was purchased and trained and was on the road in March.

Though she had not helped purchase Diesel, Carlson figured she could at least help build the K-9 fund back up, which also pays for the upkeep of the dogs, including food, equipment and veterinarian costs. City Finance Director John Baranek said he did not yet have the fund’s end-of-July amount tallied, but as of the end of June, it was down to about $1,350 at the end of June. Miller said Carlson is still responsible for helping the city to maintain Diesel.

"We’re very excited and pleased that she wanted to do that for us and be a part of it," said Miller. "I know she was excited to be not technically the owner of Diesel, but to be the person that donated the money and to be part of Diesel and his career."

Carlson emphasized that the donation was an especially appropriate way to help the police.

"I just love animals," she said. "I’ve loved them ever since I was a little girl. I had dogs to play with. I was an only child and they were my buddies…I love animals, dogs especially, and those [police] dogs are just beautiful."

To donate to the Stow Police K-9 Fund, go to https://stowohio.org/departments/police for a form.

To donate to the Munroe Falls police K-9 program, call the department’s administrative office at 330-688-7494.

Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, jsaunders@recordpub.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.