The Burlington County Animal Shelter has a record of success in finding forever homes for the animals they love and care for, but it is not every day that one of their rescues also lands a job as a bona fide crime-fighter.
A surrendered New Jersey shelter dog found a new home and a job as a Pennsylvania police K-9 thanks to the work of local animal rescue groups.
Arrow, a young Belgian Malinois, was handed over to the Burlington County Animal Shelter in February 2020 before joining the ranks of the Lower Southampton Township Police Department, where he became the agency’s first K-9 since the 1960s.
“Arrow is with me 24/7. We’re best buds. We’re partners and we do everything together,” Lower Southampton Officer Kyle Heasley told reporters at an event Wednesday. “He’s a great family dog and he’s great with our other dog too.”
The dog’s path from living in a shelter to police work came from the work of county shelter staff and an East Greenwich-based organization, the Rescue 22 Foundation, which trains service dogs for combat veterans.
Shelter staff struggled to find a home for Arrow after two failed attempts at adoptions with other families. Debbie Bucci, a shelter attendant, described him as “too much” to handle at first.
“He was very very energetic,” Bucci said in a press release from the county. “He needed more education; he needed to learn self-control and so he ended up sitting here for quite some time.”
Bucci kept working to place Arrow, turning to social media and contacting Angela Connor of the Rescue 22 group.
“Though Connor knew that Arrow wouldn’t likely be a good fit as a service animal, she ended up taking him in anyway, believing his intellect and energy might be perfect as a police dog or other working animal,” the county’s release said. “Through her contacts, she was able to match him with Lower Southampton, which was looking for a K9 recruit.”
Arrow was trained for patrol and as a drug scent dog, Heasley told the Bucks County Courier Times. The officer began working with Arrow full-time in September after the pooch spent almost eight months at the shelter.
Bucci, the county shelter staffer, said she was “overjoyed” about Arrow’s new home and hoped the story would inspire others to adopt a dog or cat from the Burlington County shelter. Heasley returned to the shelter Wednesday with Arrow to meet his four-legged partner’s former caretakers.
“I’m very proud of him,” Bucci said. “But there are many more so we just keep going…Hopefully, they all have happy endings like Arrow did.”
Thanks tᴏ Angela and the ᴏfficers at the pᴏlice dept, Arrᴏw has a hᴏme ᴏf his ᴏwn, a jᴏb, and a fᴜtᴜre tᴏ lᴏᴏk fᴏrward tᴏ! Criminals shᴏᴜld better watch ᴏᴜt! Arrᴏw takes his jᴏb very seriᴏᴜsly and has wᴏrked hard tᴏ get it, as evident frᴏm the fact he’s the first pᴏlice dᴏg the Department has had in 40 years.