Like their human partners, police dogs run toward danger routinely.

So when Paul and Catherine Welborn heard about a police dog being fitted with a ballistic vest, the Charleston residents wanted a local canine to be afforded the same level of protection.

Orrie, a 2.5-year-old black German shepherd at the Charleston Police Department, was the recipient of the Welborns' $1,000 donation. He has worked for the city since June 2013 and is one of five dogs at the agency.

"This is the first time a citizen has donated a bulletproof vest for one of our K-9's," Lt. Michael Thomas, who supervises the police dog unit, said of the couple. "I think it's wonderful that he will be protected just like any other officer."

Paul Welborn is the director of government contracts at Streit USA Armoring in North Charleston.

His wife is a volunteer at the Charleston Animal Society. Catherine Welborn said in a statement that she was excited to buy the vest for "such a beautiful dog."

She added that she would "work on" other friends with the resources to make similar purchases.

Chief Greg Mullen added in the statement that the donation was a "testament to the great relationship we have with our citizens."

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or