There may not be many, but there are some people out there who won’t let three consecutive 12-hour shifts get in the way of doing a good deed. And if there’s anybody who deserves to be recognized with a Hometown Hero award, it’s Officer Kareem Garibaldi.
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He works for Florida’s Lakeland Police Department and patrols the streets to ensure the safety of all his community’s residents. And that doesn’t stop at humans.
A couple months back, when he was out on patrol, he found a stray dog, a small pit bull-Boxer mix in a neighborhood he was canvassing. She didn’t have any tags so he scooped the little girl up and brought her back to the station until he could figure out what to do.
He didn’t have any luck tracking down her owners the following day, either, so he brought her to the local SPCA to see if she needed medical attention.
This, mind you, was after his third consecutive 12-hour shift. This sweet officer was exhausted, but he wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway, not until he knew this adorable pup would be okay.
Well, take that back. When the shelter’s safety manager, Connie Johnson, walked through the door that morning, this is what she saw:
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.
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. He actually woke up at one point just to see if she was OK, then he went back to sleep.
The dog, later named Hope, had some mites, but otherwise received a clean bill of health! But there was still the question of what to do with her, and since he still hadn’t found her owners. Officer Garibaldi decided to take her back to the station. Which is where one of the dispatchers feel head over heels in love and adopted her on the spot!
Just weeks later, her new owner reported that she’d settled in quickly and was learning some basic commands, which just proves there’s nothing like being shown some TLC to bring out a puppy’s potential!
Once the police department related the story on social media, kudos and well wishes started pouring in, thanking Officer Garibaldi for going out of his way to ensure a good outcome for the pooch. Then Congressman Dennis A. Ross got wind of it, and he personally presented the kind-hearted officer with the Hometown Hero Award at the SPCA’s annual meeting the following month!
I’m a dog owner myself and just seeing that puppy out there kind of broke my heart … It was just one of those things, I wanted to just give it a fighting chance … With everything that’s going on around the world, just do one small little thing just to try to make it better. Just make a difference one day at a time.
Those are some words we should all strive to live by! Share if you agree the world needs more Officer Garibaldis!
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