Unadopted Pit Bull Mix Becomes First Rescue K9 Officer at Police Station in Philadelphia

August 2, 2020 Updated: August 5, 2020

When Lt. Mickey Curran first saw Halo’s photo on Facebook, he thought she would be a perfect match for the station.

The 6-year-old pit bull mix had been homeless for more than a year after her former owners parted ways with her, and she was taken in by Rags 2 Riches Animal Rescue in Philadelphia. They were hoping to find her a home.

She wasn’t what everyone wanted in a pet; she had an underbite, gray patches cropping up around her muzzle, and a leg that stuck up in the air when she lay down.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Upland Borough Police Department)

But as far as having a lovable companion around on the force, she was perfect.

Lt. Curran, from Upland Borough Police Department, wanted to boost morale at the station but also wanted to give a home to a dog in need at the same time—he knew there were many others like her who weren’t so lucky. Adopting Halo would help out on both fronts.

“She had a snaggletooth and an underbite, and I said, ‘That’s the girl for us!’” Curran told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I said ‘I know this is unorthodox but would you be OK with a police department rescuing a dog and with the dog living at the station?’”

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Rags 2 Riches Animal Rescue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Screenshot/Google Maps)

Director of Rags 2 Riches Tish Mayo heard about the match and was thrilled. “I thought it was wonderful,” she told the news outlet. “I think dogs belong everywhere.”

Halo was adopted by the department and moved into the Upland police station in March 2019.

“I’d never heard of a station dog but I know we’re here 24/7 and there’s a lot of dogs that don’t have homes,” the officer added. “I thought it’d be good for morale, especially when you come back from a tough situation, like a domestic violence case or a car crash, she’s there to greet you with her tail wagging. It makes the day a little easier.”

Initially, Halo was only a therapy dog for the station, but after 17 months, the gig turned into something more serious when she was officially sworn in as a K-9 officer of Upland Borough.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Upland Borough Police Department)

The public had learned about the station’s new dog and hadn’t been able to stay away, and frequently dropped by to visit. She soon became the face of Upland Borough.

Of course, Halo won’t be performing the highly trained duties of a sniffer dog, locating drug shipments and catching bad guys. Yet, her assignment is an important one: bringing people together, both in the force and in the community at large. She will make people feel welcome at the station and attend local events as the new furry face of the department.

“We got her to bring the officers closer together and to assist them when they return from horrific calls … but what it turned out to be is the community getting her involved and her becoming a spokesperson for the department,” said Curran. “That was not what we expected.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Upland Borough Police Department)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Upland Borough Police Department)

The new addition was officially sworn in on July 14 in the presence of fellow officers, and she solicited belly rubs during the ceremony (which were granted). And then Halo signed her oath of office with her paw print and received her badge.

“She’s legit,” Curran confirmed. “She took an oath and put her paw on the Bible and all.”

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