“Flea!” the homeless man called out repeatedly from his jail cell.
Anaheim Police Officer Flora Glenn was working patrol during a swing shift and taking a suspect into jail when she noticed the man shouting.
“I asked Officer Esqueda, who brought him in, ‘Hey, who’s that yelling?’ And he said, ‘Oh yeah that’s the guy we arrested for beating that dog.’”
Earlier that night, around 10 p.m., Flora heard a call go out about a dog being badly beaten by its owner. However, the call was reported in a different district than the one she was assigned to patrol.
“I noticed people kept calling. People were reporting that he was punching the dog in the head and that the guy wouldn’t get off (the dog),” Flora recalled. “Witnesses waited for police get there because they really thought he was going to kill this dog.”
Glenn realized “Flea” was the name the man had given the dog.
“He kept yelling, ‘Flea!’ like he missed the dog already, but he was also just being super aggressive,” Flora said. “The whole thing was really unsettling.”
Flora, being an animal lover herself, asked the officer who responded to the call if the dog was OK. The officer said he wasn’t sure, and that animal control had taken the dog to be X-rayed, and if the dog was healthy, it would later be put up for adoption.
Flora knew that she wanted to give Flea a new home with her and her family.
She contacted animal control asking if the dog was doing well.
The dog was healthy, but it turned out that this was not the first time the dog had been abused.
Animal control also found a wound on the back of the dog that was healing. The wound appeared to be caused by a screwdriver. Thankfully, the dog was fine.
The animal control officer told Flora that she would still need to go through the proper procedures to adopt the dog and that they couldn’t hold the dog for her.
Since animals are adopted on a first come first serve basis, the animal control officer told Flora that if she was first in line once the dog went up for adoption, she would be able to get the dog.
Flora’s next question was about the breed of the dog.
“He’s a black Labrador,” the animal control officer said.
“I remember going, ’Of course it is!’” Flora said.
Flora’s family dog, Kiva, was a chocolate Labrador and had recently died after spending 14 years with the family. Both Flora and her daughter were heartbroken over the loss of their companion and agreed that when they were ready for another dog, they would not get another Labrador because no dog could replace Kiva.
“I was like, OK, don’t give up on Labradors,” Flora said. “I came home and I told my daughter about Flea and how I wanted to adopt him and that he was a Lab and she’s like, ‘Mom, we have to adopt him.’”
But there was one more person who needed to be convinced to let Flora adopt the dog — her husband.
Flora’s husband, Lorenzo Glenn, also works at the Anaheim Police Department as a lieutenant and had never adopted a dog from a shelter before.
“He was not on board so I took him to go see the dog during that two weeks that he was being held and he wouldn’t even look at him. He just stood there with his arms crossed,” Flora said. “I go, ‘Hey, so can we get him?’ and he goes, ‘Well, you’re going to do it anyway’ and I just kind of smiled because he was right.”
The exams cleared the dog for any medical issues, and two weeks later he was put up for adoption.
Glenn got off work at 3 in the morning the day the dog went up for adoption.
She drove over 30 miles back to the animal shelter to get there by 9 in the morning and was able to adopt the dog.
In January 2018 the dog came home with Flora and the family decided to name him Rebel.
“So, we bring Rebel home and you know how dogs pick their person? He picked my husband of course,” Flora explained. “On the first night Rebel slept in a bed next to my husband all night, now he’s the first one to greet him when he comes home. He loves Rebel.”
Flora explained that there are so many good dogs that are at shelters who need good homes.
In addition to Rebel, the family has a senior chihuahua-dachshund mix named Mr. Winston.
“(Mr. Winston) was supposed to be euthanized because he was old so nobody wanted him but he’s so sweet,” Flora explained. “I just think about if I didn’t adopt him this great little soul would have been euthanized. Senior dogs come trained already; they just want somewhere to be loved and live their life.”
Flora said that even though Rebel was only about 9 months old when they got him, he is one of the best trained dogs they have had.
“He’s a very aware dog but he’s very loving, probably the most loving dog I’ve ever had and had the privilege of having as part of our little family,” Flora said.