Dog found tied to stop sign training to be comfort dog for Brevard vets

'Petey' enrolled in Brevard Sheriff's Paws and Stripes program


SHARPES, Fla. – A Shih Tzu mix nicknamed 'Petey' by the Brevard County Sheriff's Office is training to be a comfort dog for local veterans.

The dog will go through training with Animal Services for six to eight weeks as part of the Paws and Stripes program.

Deputies say Petey was found abandoned in April, tied to a Titusville stop sign.

After he was rescued, Animal Services amputated one of his hind legs because they say it was broken and developed scar tissue.

"It's been less than two weeks since he had his leg amputated and you would have thought he's been like that his whole life," said Joe Hellebrand, manager of BCSO Animal Services.  "He's very, very resilient."

Hellebrand got the idea to recommend Petey for the Stars and Stripes program after seeing the dog interact with children shortly after surgery.

"I was taking Petey outside for a little break and there were three little kids outside and they just mauled Petey, wanted to pet him and hug him, and he was fine," said Hellebrand.  "That just told me he had the right temperament to be a comfort dog.  So we just think it's a great fit."

Hellebrand made the suggestion to the program's trainer, Clara Mutter.

"He has the most wonderful personality. He's very outgoing," said Mutter. "He's made friends with every inmate we have."

Mutter thinks an ideal partner for Petey could be someone living with an amputation, like the dog.

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