SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - It has been almost a year since the catastrophic collapse of the Surfside condominium and a special canine helped comfort first responders who answered the call that day.
Police and first responders were gifted with a bright spot on the heels of a somber memory.
“I can see it in my officers’ face every time we talk about it, I can see their face change,” said Surfside Police Chief Rogelio Torres. “I can see how it still and will for a long time impact them.”
Surfside Police Capt. Antonio Marciante spoke about the effect the day has had on his colleagues.
“Our officers knew people, personally knew people that lived there,” said Marciante, “and that has been probably the toughest thing.”
The department’s newest officer is making sure everyone has support as the Surfside Police Department prepares for the remembrance of the Champlain condo building collapse.
Officer Mike is not your average man in blue. The retired service dog came to the Surfside Police Department thanks to the K9s for Warriors dog training program.
“We found out that a service dog can stop veteran suicide, and this is the most profound thing,” said K9s For Warriors CEO Rory Diamond. “Anybody who has been touched by K9s for Warriors will see that our warriors are not just coming back to the world, but they’re coming back to life.”
Mike’s handler, Capt. Marciante, sees the difference the golden doodle makes firsthand.
“I see it every day,” said the captain. “You know, officers that had a bad call or maybe a bad day, they get a smile. They smile when they touch Mike, and that interaction is 30 seconds, and then they’re back on the road patrolling the town of Surfside.”
Mike does not only impact the officers but the whole community, who also get to love him whenever he’s taken out.
The difference Mike has made in Marciante’s life is easy to see.
“I call the midnight sergeant every night to check on him,” said Marciante. “Almost like a little kid, just to check up on him. Has he been walked, has he been fed? It’s just like a baby, if you could understand that bond. I just worry about him.”
The canine program hopes to get a service dog in every police and fire station in Florida.
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