ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - St. Petersburg Police Officer Britney Simpson just received a welcomed surprise—a free puppy.
"Nobody really let it slip. I had no idea," Simpson shared. "I was just surprised and happy that I get the opportunity, you know, to take this young dog and hopefully train it to do something good, you know, maybe a protection dog or just different things that we like to go do."
Brianna Holzerland, the owner of Holzerland Protection Dogs, a company that’s trained dogs for law enforcement and personal protection for seven years, gave the puppy to Simpson.
"We focus on breeding Belgian Malinois specifically," Holzerland said. "We also do Rottweilers as well."
"Supporting our veterans until the end is crucial," Holzerland shared. "We have to do that. They're the ones protecting our country. So, if a dog is going to make a difference as far as just building that bond and being able to do it all over again, you know, it's healing to a degree."
Simpson spent 15 years in the Air Force as a K-9 handler.
"The bond that you have with the dogs is you can't really describe it and other people really don't know it unless they experience it," Simpson explained.
Holzerland says Simpson has plenty of experience.
"She had like a resume of experience," Holzerland said. "I literally read her e-mail three times and I'm like, oh my gosh, we could handle the highest drive dog and she could handle it. So we didn't have to worry about that, which was a great thing."
Holzerland enjoys giving the gift of joy and happiness to a veteran who sacrificed for their country. This is the second year for the dog giveaway. Holzerland says they will give away a dog every six months to an essential worker.
LINK: For information, email HolzerlandProtectionDogs@gmail.com or visit the Holzerland Protection Dogs Facebook page.