CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte company is playing a key role in protecting our country's special forces. The secret weapon of units like Navy Seals, the UK Ministry of Defense and the Secret Service is dogs.

They are the real front line of national security. The canines are trained for some of the most dangerous missions around the world, often sent in first under extreme conditions.

Jason Watson, the Owner of Recon K9, actually started in the pet business. Now he helps create the products that protect these secret weapons and allow them to repel, parachute, and move into dangerous and often rough terrain.

Watson visits with military groups and special forces around the country talking about the needs of various missions. "We custom create a special product specific to their needs so it's not necessarily a one size fits all."

Recon K9 serves Tier One special ops teams in the military, defense and law enforcement including CMPD, Waxhaw and Huntersville.

Watson said, "The health and welfare of the dog is first and foremost in our minds.

Huntersville K9 Officer Eric Johnston and his dog Cirro use one of the protective vests.

Recon K9 creates a wide variety of vests like the ones that helped the NYPD protect the pope. But they also create bags that help dogs jump from planes and helicopters, gear that allows them to repel, even perform water missions. Recon K9 products are created in North Carolina and Virginia and shipped all over the world.

Officer Matt Godwin is one of the country's foremost decoy trainers. He says the dogs are a critical part of national security.

"Such an invaluable tool. It's a force multiplier as extra added security for both our soldiers and our officers

Recon K9 offers discounts to individuals who want to support their local law enforcement agencies by purchasing the gear. Please ask your local department what they need before making a donation.