Animals Stories

Overlooked Shelter Dog Becomes Police Department’s First K9 In Decades

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Arrow the Belgian Malinois waited at the Burlington County Animal Shelter for eight months. His temperament made him difficult in a home setting and not suitable to become a service dog or emotional support dog. But as it turns out, he has the perfect personality for a police dog.

So, the shelter matched Arrow with Southhampton’s Police Department. They hadn’t had a police K9 for 50 or 60 years, but they’re overjoyed to have one now. Arrow quickly adjusted to his new police life, proving that shelter dogs can do anything.

Image: @ARobertsCBS/Twitter

Finding a Home for Arrow

Someone surrendered Arrow to the shelter when he was a young puppy. He had a lot of energy and required extra training, as most puppies do. The shelter tried to adopt him out, but he ended up being “too much” for the people interested in him. But Belgian Malinoises are known for their intelligence, so shelter staff knew there had to be a home out there for him.

“I knew that was very unlikely that Arrow would be a fit for a service dog,” said Angel Connor, co-founded of Rescue 22, an organization that trains dogs to help disabled veterans. “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.”

Image: @ARobertsCBS/Twitter

So, with the right training, Arrow was ready to give police work a try. Township Patrolman Kyle Heasley partnered with Arrow, who quickly learned to work as a patrol dog and drug scent dog.

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From Shelter Pup to Police K9

Arrow is undergoing intense training with Heasley. And as it turns out, the pup is a natural. He’s made lots of improvements and has quickly stolen the hearts of everyone he’s met. The police department agrees that it’s about time a dog joined their team.

Image: @BurlCoNj/Twitter

“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.”

When Arrow isn’t working, he goes home with Heasley. He’s just as good of a family member as he is a police K9. Heasley said he’s a great family dog and clearly knows the difference between how he should act at work versus home.

Image: @BurlCoNJ/Twitter

Arrow is one of 1,700 dogs adopted from his shelter last year. His journey to adoption was a little slower than others, but the staff hopes his story will help more dogs get adopted. After all, no matter how difficult a shelter dog is, there’s still a perfect home for them out there.

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