Police work involves a lot of responsibilities, and sometimes, it even means taking care of innocent little animals. One of the officers from the Lakeland Police Department in Florida knows this the best.
Officer Kareem Garibaldi was driving around one of Lakeland’s neighborhoods when he suddenly spotted this small Pitbull/Boxer mix puppy running around loose.
After a thorough search of the neighborhood, the officer was unable to locate the owner due to the puppy’s lack of a collar and dog tag.
Instead of turning a blind eye, Officer Garibaldi couldn’t bear to leave the little puppy alone on the street. So, what did he do?
He scooped her up, brought her to the station with him, and provided her with shelter and a good meal.
According to the post by Lakeland PD, Officer Garibaldi took the little puppy home at the end of his shift. The next day, determined to reunite her with her rightful owner, he brought her back to the station.
He even went above and beyond, taking to social media to share her pictures, and even going back to the neighborhood where he initially found her, hoping to find the owner.
Despite his sincere efforts, the search yielded no results.
“At the end of his 12-hour shift, Officer Garibaldi, on his own time, transported the dog to the SPCA to be checked out. He sat there from 8:45am to 12:00 p.m. as the vet checked the puppy out,” the Lakeland PD wrote in their Facebook post.
Coming from a 12-hour shift, the worn-out officer couldn’t resist taking a quick power nap while eagerly awaiting the results.
The shelter’s safety net manager, Connie Johnson, saw this heartwarming scene and couldn’t resist snapping a photo, which then quickly went viral all over social media.
“I could not resist taking this picture when I walked into the clinic at SPCA Florida this morning. Officer Kareem totally went out of his way after working all night to make sure this puppy was safe and sound. Thank you so much for all you do!! You are such an inspiration,” she said.
Thankfully, the little dog was found to be healthy.
The officer’s selfless act did not go unnoticed.
“It clearly was a selfless thing to do. He wasn’t thinking about getting home to sleep. He was thinking about what he could do to help this puppy survive,” Johnson told The Dodo. “He actually woke up at one point just to see if she was OK, then he went back to sleep.”
Following a successful checkup, Officer Garibaldi brought the puppy back to the station, and that’s when an even more heartwarming story unfolded.
The dispatcher saw the little puppy and instantly fell in love with her. By the end of the day, Hope was officially adopted.
According to the police department, she is doing amazing in her new home, all thanks to Officer Garibaldi.
“It’s the kind-hearted officers like this that makes the Lakeland Police Department truly unique. Having worked a long weekend, Officer Garibaldi still found the energy at the end of his shift to help man’s best friend,” Lakeland PD wrote in a statement.
For showing incredible compassion and saving little Hope, Officer Garibaldi was honored with the Hometown Hero Award.
“With everything that is going on in the world, I just wanted to do one small, little thing, just to try and make it better,” he said.