This shelter dog was an “owner surrender” who is now repaying the favor by demonstrating that second chances are possible.
Arrow, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois mix, needed a special human buddy to notice his bravery and talent and help him convert from a long-term shelter pup to the furriest new member of a Pennsylvania police department.
Arrow, who had spent nearly eight months in the Burlington County Animal Shelter east of Philadelphia after his owner surrendered him, caught the eye of Deb Bucci, an animal shelter staffer. “Their brains, especially in the Malinois, are continuous,” Bucci tells the Burlington County Times. “When they are put in the kennel, they go insane.” Bucci began working with Arrow “every moment she got” with this in mind.
The shelter’s quest for Arrow’s forever home continued as she worked with him. Several months went by without any luck with adoption—until last summer when a last-ditch social media post was answered. Bucci shared Arrow’s story on Facebook, which led her to Angela Connor, co-founder, and chief financial officer of the Rescue 22 Foundation, which trains service dogs for our country’s wounded soldiers.
“I knew Arrow wasn’t going to be a good fit for a service dog,” Connor tells the publication. “I came in and analyzed Arrow and determined that a lot of the challenging behavior that most people would find was exactly the type of behavior we’re looking for in police work.”
Connor and the Rescue 22 Foundation adopted Arrow for three months and worked with him until the Philadelphia Police K-9 Training Unit stepped in and found Arrow a job in September. Lower Southampton Township Police Department patrolman Kyle Heasley became Arrow’s owner as well as a partner on the police. They train and work together on a full-time basis.
“Everyone in the community is quite supportive and pleased that we now have a police dog,” Heasley told the New York Times. “The department is pleased, as are all of the police. He’s been a fantastic addition to the team.”
Arrow is “exactly like a family dog when we go home,” according to Heasley, in addition to his great performance review. Arrow has been trained as a police dog and a drug-sniffing dog, and Heasley claims that he knows when to switch from work mode to home mode. Arrow, you’ve got that work-life balance down pat!
The director of the Burlington County Animal Shelter says they’re attempting to “better assess canines and their needs” like Bucci, who recognized Arrow’s potential early on. In the future, hopefully, this will lower the amount of failed adoptions.
We’re overjoyed that Arrow found a forever home and was able to put his brains and enthusiasm to good use by guarding his community. You should be proud of your fellow bow-wows (especially those shelter pups)!