Florida police officer Kareem Garibaldi has been praised for going above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of a stray dog named Hope.
It was the spring of 2016 when Garibaldi, an officer with the City of Lakeland Police Department, came across a lonely and wandering stray pup in the early morning hours of his shift.
The dog was not wearing any identification, and as his shift was about to end, Garibaldi decided to take the dog home with him in hopes of finding her owner the following day.
According to The Dodo, Garibaldi tried a second time to find the dog’s owner, but was unsuccessful. At the end of his 12-hour shift, a weary and sleepy Garibaldi brought the dog to the SPCA Florida for a checkup.
Connie Johnson, the shelter’s safety net manager, saw the exhausted pup sleeping beside Garibaldi, who had also dozed off while waiting for the dog’s checkup.
“I walked in, and that’s when I saw him and the puppy,” Johnson told The Dodo.
“He was exhausted, the puppy was exhausted, and they were sleeping. It was one of those moments that just grab your heart. He was so determined to get her help.”
Garibaldi waited the entire three hours that it took for Hope to receive a thorough checkup. Aside from having mites, the dog was given a clean bill of health.
“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 said.
“He actually woke up at one point just to see if she was OK, then he went back to sleep.”
Hope accompanied her new friend back to the police station, where she quickly captured the eyes and heart of a police dispatcher, who adopted her that very day.
The photo of Garibaldi snoozing beside the stray pup captured the hearts of Florida residents, who praised the Lakeland Police Department for having such compassionate officers.
“It’s the kind-hearted officers like this that makes the Lakeland Police Department truly unique,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Having worked a long weekend, Officer Garibaldi still found the energy at the end of his shift to help man’s best friend.”
Johnson was particularly impressed with Garibaldi’s determination to make sure Hope ended up in good hands.
“This gentleman has such a heart,” she said. “He really, really cared about the outcome of that puppy.”
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