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From the shelter to the force: Alexandria's new K-9 officer's story

Wednesday - 8/13/2014, 3:03pm  ET

As her partner, Steven Escobar is interviewed about her graduation, K-9 police dog Zara pays attention to her toy on the ground. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
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ALEXANDRIA - Alexandria Police have a new gal on the force: A K9 named Zara who graduated Wednesday from patrol training. But her journey started in what seems like a world away -- at a nearby shelter.

"We're so proud of her," says Abbie Hubbard with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

Hubbard knew long before Zara was in training that the two-year-old Belgian malinois would be a good fit for police work.

"When we met Zara, we knew she was a special dog, lots of energy and a really smart dog," Hubbard says.

Zara's first owner gave her up, but her second owner won't, Hubbard says. Her partner, Alexandria police K9 officer Steven Escobar, officially adopted Zara six months ago.

"We had to work on a couple things with her. She still has those quirks," he says.

Zara's graduation from the 14-week patrol training program guarantees she'll have a partner and a home for years to come.

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