When Florida’s Osceola County Deputy Sheriff Josh Fiorelli went viral in December 2018, it wasn’t the kind of online attention one might expect to see from the police.
It wasn’t because he was helping a beggar on the street, making a bust, or doing something illicit that someone decided to catch his actions on camera, to be posted on the world wide web. In this case, a pedestrian, out for a stroll with his own dog, snapped a picture of Fiorelli because he was helping a friend of the furry, four-legged kind, hoping to show the world how kindhearted the law enforcement member was.
Carlos Irizzy, of Kissimmee, was out for a walk when he saw Fiorelli sitting in the grass, gently petting a white dog lying under his sweater and comforting it with soft words of assurance.
It turned out that the dog wasn’t Fiorelli’s at all but rather a sweet pup that had been hit by a car. The deputy sheriff, wanting to keep her company and soothe her until animal control came to provide medical assistance and shelter, had sat down in the grass to wait with her.
“This is something that you don’t see every day,” Carlos Irizzy said.
“It was cold out. She was wet. She didn’t have anyone there so I dedicated to be that person,” Fiorelli stated, when he realized that his good deed had gone viral. He hadn’t known anyone was watching when he sat there—but before he knew it, animal lovers everywhere were offering him praise for his compassion.
One Facebook user wrote, “Thank you Deputy Fiorelli for doing the job which you are so obviously meant to do. Such a kind and caring person, not everyone would show such compassion for an animal that was hurt. You are a credit to your profession and uniform, a great example of a great police officer. God bless you.”
While another one wrote, “Thank you deputy!! You are a special man!!”
“Thank you for being this dogs Knight in shining armor,” a Facebook user commented.
“I know a lot of dogs become defensive when they get hurt. She was not defensive at all,” Fiorelli explained.
The dog had no collar or microchip, so it would be tough to find its owner—something that Fiorelli took the opportunity to explain to the public when all eyes were on him. Had there been a microchip, the owners would have been able to find their four-legged friend much faster, and they would have been eligible for a necessary surgery from the accident much sooner.
Whether the dog had an owner or not, though, Fiorelli made it clear that he was there to provide comfort no matter what.
Social media warmed up to the act quickly, letting Fiorelli know just how much they appreciated seeing something like that. As his words made clear, though, he knew exactly how much his comforting helped the pup from the moment he sat down with her.
“They may only be a part of your life, but you’re their whole life,” he said, referencing how important humans can be for dogs.
To recognize this compassionate officer’s kind deed, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organized to send the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office a framed certificate and a box of delicious vegan cookies, Osceola News-Gazette reported.