Seeking a new pet, Lisa Garzia could have purchased a German shepard from a friend who breeds them to be future police dogs. But instead, she recalled her experience finding her first dog from a Humane Society in New Hampshire, which led her to consider searching shelters again.
Garzia’s son saw a post with a German shepard at Broward County Animal Care. Despite living in Port St. Lucie, Garzia decided to make the trip.
Brodie had just arrived at the shelter, and several staff members insisted he had been there before. All Garzia could do was pay the $20 deposit that would go toward the dog’s adoption fee if he wasn’t picked up by his owner.
Garzia called the shelter daily for an update, figuring if Brodie were neutered, his owner wouldn’t pick him up. That proved to be the case, and Garzia made the two-hour trek south on June 30. She played with Brodie for 10 minutes before loading him in the car with a cone around his neck.
“Since then, you would have thought he was our dog forever,” Garzia said.
Brodie was immediately integrated into Garzia’s life, joining the cross country team she coaches for 6 a.m. runs on the beach. He recently ran more than three miles with the team and passed one of the team members.
In the coming weeks, Garzia plans to bring Brodie to the team’s high-intensity workouts. She wants to see "if he’ll lay there and chill while we do it."
Garzia, who is a teacher, also plans to have Brodie trained to be a therapy dog so he can work with her autistic students. She recalled a time when a golden retriever helped one student experiencing anxiety while reading overcome that fear.
Garzia doesn’t have any other pets and is in the process of getting settled into a house. But she said she is considering adopting another dog and is open to returning to the Broward County facility to do so.
"They have a ton of variety," Garzia said. "I never would have thought to look there. Two hours for a really good pet, it’s worth it."