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Officer Rescues Puppy After Long Shift And Falls Asleep By Her Side At Clinic

A Florida police officer has been commended for his compassion after he selflessly rescued a puppy he had found at the end of a long shift, and then stayed with her, despite his exhaustion, until he was sure she was safe.

Officer Kareem Garibaldi of the Lakeland Police Department was finishing his shift in the early hours of the morning on May 21, 2016, when he came across the small pit bull/boxer mix puppy.

Actually, he almost *hit* the poor pup with his patrol car, but was able to avoid her and plucked her up off the road.

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The 8-10 week old girl had no collar or identification tags and had been running loose through the street.

Although he was exhausted, Officer Garibaldi canvassed the neighborhood in an effort to try and find the puppy's owners with no such luck. Eventually, he decided to take the sweet girl home with him for some food and shelter.

The next day, Garibaldi once again searched the neighborhood for the dog's owner and posted photos of the pup on social media in an attempt to reach more people.

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However, he was still unable to find anyone to claim her.

On the third day, following his third consecutive 12-hour shift, the officer took the puppy to the Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for her to be thoroughly checked over by a vet.

It was there that the physically drained officer waited from 8:45 AM until 12:00 PM, refusing to leave the poor puppy's side while she was examined.

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One SPCA employee managed to snap a heartwarming photo of Garibaldi quietly snoozing next to the dog he so heroically rescued and share it to Facebook, revealing that the dog had been given the name "Hope" upon her arrival.

"City of Lakeland Police Department Officer Garibaldi snoozing after rescuing a puppy named Hope this morning following a long shift," the caption reads. "Hats off to Officer Garibaldi for saving Hope!"

That post quickly went viral, racking up over 400 shares and more than 2,000 reactions from users who were touched by Garibaldi's selflessness.

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Shortly after, the Lakeland Police Department shared its own Facebook post applauding the officer and praising him for going above and beyond for the sake of the puppy's well-being.

"It’s the kind-hearted officers like this that makes [sic] the Lakeland Police Department truly unique," the caption reads. "Having worked a long weekend, Officer Garibaldi still found the energy at the end of his shift to help man’s best friend."

The department also made sure to update eager followers of this story about what has happened with little Hope since her rescue.

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After receiving many emails requesting more information, and some seeking information about adopting the puppy, the department revealed Hope has now found her furever home.

"After being treated at the SPCA, the puppy was named 'Hope' and adopted by a dispatcher," the post reads. "Hope is doing fine in her new loving home."

As for Officer Garibaldi, he was awarded the Hometown Hero Award "for showing compassion and saving a little puppy named Hope."

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In a Facebook post announcing the honor, the Lakeland Police Department quoted Garibaldi as saying,

"With everything that is going on in the world, I just wanted to do one small, little thing, just to try and make it better."

h/t: Facebook | LakelandPD, Facebook | SPCA Florida

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