A special fundraiser is helping better protect Plymouth and Richfield police dogs.

Massachusetts-based nonprofit Vested Interest in K-9s Inc. partnered with Groupon to raise more than $55,000 regionally through individual $10 Groupon donations, buying protective vests for police dogs nationwide.

Plymouth and Richfield both got two K-9 bullet- and stab-proof vests valued at $1,000. A St. Paul event next month aims to raise money for a third Plymouth police dog.

Vested Interest in K-9s' past fundraisers have given 10 vests to Minnesota police dogs in Cottage Grove, Forest Lake, Mounds View, Roseville, Lino Lakes and Washington County.

"My quest in Minnesota is personal," said Sandy Marcal, president of the nonprofit.

She said she was touched by the story of Roseville police dog, Major, who was stabbed by a suspect in 2010, suffering a collapsed lung, damage to his spinal cord and other injuries. Since 2009, her group has donated 431 vests for law enforcement K-9s.