“Police dogs save lives” is a motto Italia Fraize stands behind.

The 11-year-old is a photographer, and her canvas prints are more than just her talent on display; they’re a mark of community service.

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Italia surprised her family with the talent about one year ago, after she produced close-up photos of the nature surrounding her grandmother’s cabin in Seward, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Later, she decided to use her skills to raise funds for Dollars for Dogs, a local nonprofit that funds APD’s K-9 unit.

“Around Italia’s 9th birthday, we asked her what she wanted. Instead of presents, she said she wanted friends to donate to Dollars for Dogs,” said her mother, Ofc. Angie Fraize, who works for APD. “So for the next two birthdays, that’s what we did.”

Since starting her photography project, her prints raised $800, which she gave to Dollars for Dogs at their monthly board meeting on Monday.

Italia artwork

Photo source: italialena.com

Italia and APD K9 Officer Brandon Otts

Italia and APD K-9 Officer Brandon Otts

“She sold 4 more prints and got a big donation, which puts her at $1,050 to date for Dollars for Dogs,” reads an update from Italia’s mother.

Her father is also an officer with APD. And Italia says a career as a K-9 officer is in her future.

“I want my parents to be safe at work,” said Italia of why she’s raising the money.

And, she adds, “police dogs save lives.”

You can find Italia’s photos at the Downtown Kaladi Brothers Coffee for the month of September. More information on the Dollars for Dogs program can be found here.