ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Britney Simpson was serving in the Air Force as a K9 handler when she and her bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois named Xxavier were sent to Afghanistan.
"He found multiple bombs. Multiple IED’s so he saved my life and many others," said Simpson about Xxavier.
After the Belgian Malinois retired, he was able to live out his last years with Simpson until he passed away in 2018.
"That’s your partner, your lifeline. They’re everything to you. They go everywhere with you. You do everything together, they’re your whole life," said Simpson.
That’s why when Simpson, who is now a St. Pete police officer, learned about a contest Holzerland Protection Dogs was having to give away a Belgian Malinois puppy to a veteran, she entered.
"Mental health and supporting our veterans till the end is crucial. We have to because they’re the ones protecting our country," said Brianna Holzerland.
When Holzerland read Simpson's story she says she knew she found the right person.
"It was a no-brainer at that point. Especially after seeing the pictures, I was like, she needs another one," said Holzerland.
On Thursday, in front of her fellow officers, Simpson was surprised to learn she was picked to be the new owner of a 12-week old Belgian Malinois puppy.
"I was just surprised and happy that I get the opportunity to take get this young dog and hopefully train it to do something good," said Simpson.