'K-9 For a Day' program: Police help shelter dogs find forever homes

If you’re out in New Smyrna Beach, you may notice some friendly four-legged dogs patrolling the city with police officers.

They are not part of the force, but they could be part of your family.

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Mercy and Meatball are breaking out of the shelter to be K-9’s for a day, jumping into a patrol car and heading out with some of the town’s officers.

"It’s a great ice breaker," New Smyrna Beach Police Officer Allen Washington said. "People look at the dogs and I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love dogs. Everywhere we go with the dogs, people come up to us, pet the dogs, start a conversation and tell us just how much they love this new program."

The ‘K-9 For a Day’ program is about a year old and so far, officers have been gotten three shelter dogs adopted by taking them on walks in the community.

"They were wonderful," Dawn Clements said. "Very friendly, loving, eager to meet new people and their tails were just wagging."

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The latest participants are Meatball, a two-year-old male pitbull, and Mercy, a four-year-old female mix. Both are up for adoption along with 50 other dogs and more than 200 cats at the Southeast Volusia Humane Society.

"We get them ready to be adopted, all up to date," Alexis Waller said. "Really great dogs."

The K-9 For a Day program does more than just find forever families. It also gives officers a chance to connect with their communities too.

"It shows that we’re not just a badge in a uniform," Washington said. "It humanizes us and lets people know that we’re human beings and we can start with any conversation. Normal people."

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