When Florida police officer Kareem Garibaldi was found asleep waiting by stray dog named Hope in the spring of 2016, he became popular since he went above the call of duty for that stray pup.
Garibaldi works for the City of Lakeland Police Department, and saw a lonely and wandering pup very early in the morning of his shift. The dog did not wear any identification, and since his shift was ending, Garibaldi took the dog home with him hoping he would find the owner.
The next day, Garibaldi tried to find the owner but could not. So at the end of his 12-hour shift, brought the dog to the SPCA Florida for a checkup.
Connie Johnson, the shelter’s safety net manager, saw the tired pup sleeping beside Garibaldi, who too had dozed off as he waited for the dog’s checkup. “I walked in, and that’s when I saw him and the puppy,” Johnson said. “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.”
Garibaldi waited for 3 hours as Hope’s checkup, the dog was given a clean bill of health as she was healthy apart from having mites.
“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,” Johnson said.
“He actually woke up at one point just to see if she was OK, then he went back to sleep.” The next day, Hope returned back with Garibaldi to the police station, where a police dispatcher adopted her on the very same day.
A picture of Garibaldi dozing off beside Hope was captured and has warmed the hearts of Florida residents, who praised the Lakeland Police department for having such compassionate officers. “It’s the kind-hearted officers like this that makes the Lakeland Police Department truly unique,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Having worked a long weekend, Officer Garibaldi still found the energy at the end of his shift to help man’s best friend.”
Johnson said she was very impressed with Garibaldi’s determination to make sure Hope ended up in good hands. “This gentleman has such a heart,” she said. “He really, really cared about the outcome of that puppy.”