MARBLEHEAD (WTVG) - Dogs are a vital part of police departments all over the world. K-9 officers help sniff out drugs, track down suspects and even protect their human partners.
One local police department has a new pup on the force, but he's probably not what you'd expect to see. Officer Christopher Suppelsa says the new guy on the job is turning heads,"It's not often you see a Chihuahua riding around in a cop car." But that's exactly what you might see in Marblehead.
Chief Casey Joy says 4-month-old Zorro is probably a Chihuahua/Rat Terrier mix, "How much does he weigh? 4.2 Pounds." After being inspired by news stories about all the animals in need because of Hurricane Florence, the Chief went on Petfinder and found Zorro. He adopted the little guy a couple months ago, and the pint-sized pooch started work a few days later.
Chief Joy says Zorro is now an official member of the force, "He was sworn in last night at the Village Council meeting as the village mascot. Anyone who sees him immediately has a smile on their face. We posted his picture after he was sworn in, and within hours he had more than 50,000 likes."
Even though Zorro is not an official K-9 officer he still comes to work with Chief Joy every day. He even goes out on patrol, and he rides in style,"When he's on patrol with me he has a little bag that he sits in near the passenger seat. He has a tiny seat belt he gets clicked in to. He sits there with his paws on the bag and watches everything."
Zorro is also in training to be a therapy dog. The chief says the goal is for Zorro to eventually visit nursing homes,hospitals and hospice patients, "Anything that can bring the community you serve together is nothing but positive. He's already done a lot of that."
When Zorro is not on duty he lives with Chief Joy and another dog named Seasons. Seasons is a seizure detecting dog for the chief's son. When Zorro is on duty, he's just a little spoiled, "He has a heating pad he likes to sit on when he gets cold. He gets plenty of attention and treats."
Zorro even has his own little vest, made by a local woman, "She fell in love with him when she met him, and two days later she came in with the police vest for him. He's been wearing it proudly ever since. When he has the vest on he is all business and reserved, but when it comes off he is more playful. He loves to give kisses. Once he knows you, he likes to climb all over you and be your buddy."
Unlike the rest of us, Zorro can nap on the job. But Officer Suppelsa says no one is complaining about the new guy's special perks, "Who doesn't love Zorro?He's an awesome little dog."
The officers truly love having a new friend on the force,"When you go from call to call to call that can be very stressful. Coming back and playing with a Chihuahua sure helps relieve that stress."
A little dog making a big difference in Marblehead, "If people come in to get reports or speak to an officer they do not expect to see a little Chihuahua, Zorro cheers people right up!"