ARLINGTON -- The Arlington Police Department won the Internet on Thursday.
The department recently posted photos of a sergeant interacting with a dog who neighbors called "aggressive."
The post reached two million people in less than 24 hours. As of 5 p.m. Friday, it had garnered more than 5 million views and 77,000 "likes" on Facebook.
Sgt. Gary Carter and Officer Heather Gibson were called to a neighborhood for an unrelated reason, but found neighbors telling them that a "pit bull" was roaming around and following them.
Arlington officers have undergone training for how to deal with aggressive animals. Using these skills, Carter recognized signs of dehydration in the dog, so he and Gibson managed to get the canine into the back of a patrol car with the lure of a protein bar.
They said the dog was very friendly and seemed lost and thirsty.
“This is exactly the type of compassion we love to see our employees exhibit and credit their good judgment and our significant investment that our organization has made in providing training to officers on how to deal with dogs,” said Arlington Police Chief Will D. Johnson.
The dusty white pit bull with a large, square head licked Sgt. Carter on the nose in a holding pen at the city’s animal shelter.
"Good boy," Carter responded.
Sgt. Carter rode bulls for a living before he was a cop. He knows a thing or two about big, aggressive animals.
"He's not a mean dog,” Carter said. “Somebody loves him.”
It might have ended differently in another time, but more and more police departments now train officers to deal with dogs.
Fort Worth launched classes two years ago after an officer mistakenly shot Lillie, a border collie. Arlington police began mandatory training last year.
Carter is a little sheepish about his new-found viral fame.
"I would never have imagined it in a million years," he said.
As it turns out, the dog was micro-chipped. Owner Antonio Mireles had him back by noon Friday.
"I looked for him for two days and I couldn't find him,” Mireles said when he arrived at the animal shelter and adoption center.
Mireles said he adopted the dog from a Grand Prairie shelter only a week ago, named him Jeffrey, and takes him to work with him at a garage about a block from where the dog was found. Mireles said he was under a car when Jeffrey got out of the fenced in business.
Friday afternoon, Jeffrey was back at the garage. This time wearing a harness.
News 8 asked Mireles if he got Jeffrey as a guard dog.
He said no. He’s got a Chihuahua for that.