A Dallas police officer says he never realized an airport photo session with his K-9 partner would get so much attention.
Officer Andre Cloyd and his dog, Zigi, were on patrol at Love Field over the weekend when a traveler snapped a series of photos of the partners posing for selfies. Gina Anzaldua posted her pictures in a Facebook group dedicated to dogs, pointing out how Cloyd seemed to show each photo to Zigi.
“They captured what’s just everyday life for us. We weren’t doing anything special,” Cloyd said.
“That sweet [boy] was his partner, not just a dog,” Anzaldua wrote.
The post had already been shared by tens of thousands of strangers by time Cloyd found out about it, and he was surprised by the response.
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“Thank you for all the love shown to Zigi and I,” he posted.
NBC 5 caught up with Cloyd and Zigi on patrol at Love Field a few days later to get the story behind the selfies. Cloyd told us it all started with a text message thread with his family members.
“We communicate every day - maybe a phone call, a video chat, an email,” he said.
Cloyd is the only member of his family living in North Texas. That day, his mom sent him a selfie at work and a message wishing everyone a productive day.
“I was on my way into work, and I said, ‘I’ll just take her a photo once I get inside,’” he recalled.
He and Zigi headed to their usual spot in the airport where they watch to make sure things are fine. When Cloyd pulled out his phone, he had no idea someone else was taking their photo, too.
“It was kind of cool that she shared it, and it was able to come full circle back to me,” Cloyd said. “It was pretty cool to be part of something that big.”
With his human family out of state, Cloyd considers Zigi and his other dog, Bentley, his family.
“I tell people, ‘Hey, these are my pets, these are my dogs, these are my two kids.’
Cloyd told us they’re together almost 24/7.
“We take photos together, we watch movies together, we go to the gym together.”
Cloyd calls it an honor to be part of the Dallas Police Department’s K9 Unit because he’s been an animal lover all his life.
“To get paid to do something you’ve loved since the age of four, it’s a privilege, definitely.”
Cloyd says he doesn’t want all the attention on him.
“Zigi’s the star, but even more so, we’re just a small piece of a unit, a department and a law enforcement community that does everything we can to ensure the safety of the passengers.”
Cloyd said he’s thankful a positive post about law enforcement is getting so much attention.
“It’s no secret that when something negative happens in law enforcement, or any profession, how it will snowball and just take off,” he acknowledged. “To be a part of something positive and for it to be just as big and just kind of take off as fast is a privilege and an honor.”
He asked anyone who enjoyed his selfies to help him pay it forward.
“I guarantee you, you’ll never come across an officer, TSA, any type of security individual who will say, ‘hey, I’m tired of people thanking me for my service.’ Just to pay it forward, if you see me or anybody else, please stop, let us know how you feel. We appreciate the love and support,” he shared.