Many people who are charmed by the features of a particular dog breed but don’t do their research on its personality are in for a shock, and the dog is often the one that suffers.
Belgian malinois are one of those breeds. They’re intelligent, streamlined, athletic and powerful, and many people are impressed with their prowess but are completely unprepared for the amount of drive they have and the work it takes to keep them fulfilled: These dogs need a job, and if you don’t give them one, they’ll make one up (at your expense).
One dog named “Arrow” likely fell prey to that mindset and ended up at the Burlington County Animal Shelter in New Jersey, where he stayed for around eight months.
He was adopted twice, but both times his new families found his behavior disconcerting and surrendered him. One family said he wasn’t getting along with their other pet, and the other family said he became too protective of one of their family members.
Thankfully for the dog, one of the shelter attendants could see his potential and made sure to spend time with him.
“Their brains, especially in the Malinois, are continuous, and when they are locked in the kennel they go crazy,” animal attendant Deb Bucci said, according to the Burlington County Times.
After failed attempts to find a home for Arrow, Bucci posted about Arrow on social media, where someone else recognized his potential. Angela Connor with Rescue 22 Foundation, a group that trains service dogs for disabled veterans, saw a law enforcement future for Arrow.
“I knew that was very unlikely that Arrow would be a fit for a service dog,” Connor said. “I came in and evaluated Arrow and decided that a lot of the behavior that most people would find challenging was actually exactly the behavior we’re looking for to develop into police work.”
Arrow went into training with Rescue 22, and after a few months, he found a permanent place with Officer Kyle Heasley and the Lower Southampton Police Department in Pennsylvania, where he has trained as a patrol and drug detection dog.
Now, Arrow is the department’s first K9 since the 1960s — and with real, challenging work during the day, he’s settled into a family routine in the evenings.
“Everybody in the community is very supportive and very happy that we now have a police dog,” Heasley said. “The department’s happy, so are all the fellow officers. He’s been a great addition to the department.”
“He is just like a family dog when we go home. He knows when to turn it off. He knows when we go to work.”
It has turned into the perfect solution for everyone involved.
“We would like to thanks Angela Connor and the Rescue 22 Foundation for donating our K9 Arrow and paying for his training and just being very supportive,” the Lower Southampton Police Department posted on April 30.
“We also would like to thank Tractor Supply in Jamison who are donating Arrow’s food. It is very appreciated. Arrow has completed his basic training and is out on patrol with Officer Kyle Heasley.”
Bucci is thrilled to see Arrow shining as the dog she knew he could be, and the happy ending has encouraged Ericka Haines, the director at the shelter Arrow was pulled from.
“One good story absolutely trumps the 10 bad ones that we have on a daily basis,” Haines said to the Times. “This makes it such a good, good thing and hopefully we’re finding the right direction and having more positive stories than the negatives.”
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