Top Cop Finds “Fur-ever” Homes for Rescue Dogs

Top Cop and Green Bay Police Officer Joel Zwicky is using his love of animals and his job as a police officer to help rescue dogs find a home through his “K-9 for a Day” program. Three days a week, Officer Zwicky patrols the community with puppies and dogs in order to introduce these dogs to the community and hopefully increase their chances of adoption.


Read about “K-9 for a Day” from the Green Bay Press Gazette:


GREEN BAY – One rescue puppy was briefly, sleepily and unofficially, a Green Bay Police K-9 this week.


Mr. Magoo, newly arrived from Texas, is the latest recruit to Green Bay Police Officer Joel Zwicky’s K-9 for a Day program. Zwicky aims to bring attention to area animal rescue shelters and rescue dogs by taking adoptable dogs with him on his patrols in the Broadway area.


He takes a different dog out of the shelter three days a week, and the two patrol together, visiting businesses and stopping to chat with passersby, for about three hours. Zwicky has patrolled the area for years.


“It’s just a partnership trying to solve a problem in the community. Which is we have too many dogs that don’t have homes,” he said.


Mr. Magoo, who is also Zwicky’s latest foster dog, was brought to Wisconsin by Key to Happiness Rescue, a DeForest nonprofit that rescues hard-to-place dogs from shelters in Texas and Louisiana, where they were likely to be euthanized.


Magoo was one of 50 dogs recently brought to Wisconsin from Texas, said Lyndsay Ampe, fundraising and partnership coordinator for the Key to Happiness Rescue. The puppy arrived at Zwicky’s home Sunday.


Named after the bald and nearsighted cartoon character, Mr. Magoo is what Zwicky calls a "special case."


The 2.5-month-old puppy was born with no hair and was on oxygen after birth. He still has bald patches, including on his face.


“Mr. Magoo was, and is, a runt. He unfortunately almost passed away. He barely made it,” Ampe said.


Magoo spent most of his K-9 stint bundled in a coat against the chill and cradled in the officer’s arms.


The first patrol stop was Orthopedic Spine Therapy and the second was the ScoliSMART Clinic in Green Bay. At each place, the pink and white pup with black spots was surrounded by people wanting to pet him.


Zwicky’s K-9 program began two months ago as a partnership with the Bay Area Humane Society, part of a department-wide effort to develop new ways to connect with the community.


“It sounded like a wonderful plan … a great chance to showcase these dogs,” said Marlene Wals, executive director of the Bay Area Humane Society.


Zwicky started with a group of eight dogs at the Bay Area Humane Society, most of which have been adopted.


Ampe reached out to Zwicky after hearing about the program. Two of his three Key foster dogs have also been adopted.


Zwicky, under the name Joel Ryan and the Green Bay Police Department post regularly about the dogs on Facebook.


“We try to give them a little more exposure and try to get them adopted,” Zwicky said.


Zwicky “has such a passion for the dogs” and that goes a long way, Ampe said.


The officer has both dogs and cats at home. His ex-wife Amy Zwicky and their three children help with the rescue dogs when he is working.


After Magoo finished Monday's patrol he was off to the vet for a checkup and then Lucky Paws Pet Boutique in Two Rivers for a nail trim and bath, Zwicky said. Lucky Paws donates its services.


There have been a few bumps in the K-9 for a Day program. One day, while on a call, Zwicky left a dog in his car.


“I was in there taking a written statement from the victim when the sirens started going off in my squad,” he said with a laugh. “Came out and the dog had turned on every light in the squad car, all the sirens. All the neighbors were out trying to figure out what is going on.”


Now the dogs wear a special harness to keep them in the passenger seat. He does not put the dogs in the back seat since the point is to get them out of a cage.


Zwicky feels the dogs help police appear more approachable by the public.


“They’re not sure if we’re working … When they see me with a hairless little animal like this, it kind of sparks some conversation. People are more likely to come up and talk to me and we have conversations that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise,” he said.


“I am proud to have Officer Zwicky on the Green Bay Police Department. He is not just a good cop, he’s a good man. He sets a high standard for all of us in law enforcement and is a true humanitarian,” said Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith.


Good work helping not just your human community members, but also the animals in your community Officer Zwicky. To date, Officer Zwicky has had 15 "K-9s for a Day" companions successfully adoted. As a pet-dad to three rescue animals myself, I can say that many animal shelters in our state would be even more full if it weren’t for willing adopters. Thank you Officer Zwicky, for giving these “K-9s for a Day” a chance to stretch their legs, and for extending community policing to a whole other species.