The photo shows a tiny, gray, half-asleep kitten cuddled up next to a sleeping, otherwise-ferocious looking German Shepherd.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office tweeted it last Friday night, and we put it on our Facebook page.
The sleepy pair roused an enormous reaction: more than 4,000 people "liked" the photo on our FOX 13 Facebook page, and close to 1,000 people shared it out.
"oh my goodness that is the cutest thing ever," one fan commented.
"makes my heart happy," said another.
LINK: See the viral Facebook photo here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151553295148525&set=a.368491078524.154775.159207208524&type=1&theater
More than 200 people wrote similar sentiments about the snoozing duo. So we wanted to know the story behind the picture.
It turns out the dog is a canine deputy with HCSO named "Dagger." His handler is Deputy Charlotte Raschke, who scooped up the tiny kitten along a dark and lonely road a couple of years ago while out on a call.
Raschke tells us she put the kitten in the front seat of her cruiser, and when she returned, he had crawled through the bars into the back seat with Dagger. It was love at first sight, and they've been best friends ever since.
She named the cat "Taz."
"Dagger's all about sharing the spotlight, ‘cause they're besties. Taz is his co-pilot. He totally gets it," Raschke said.
Dagger is one of many in the Raschke household: four dogs, four cats -- and Raschke says Dagger adores them all.
"Loves 'em. Swears by it. Thinks every canine should have one," she says.
But the dog that's a sweetie and loves nothing better than a tummy rub when he's not working is all business when he's on duty.
"K9 Dagger is the epitome of a canine officer. He's social. He's loving. But he is ferocious in his ability to protect the citizens and to protect me and himself," Raschke said,
Which is why she thinks Dagger deserves to become the face of the "K9 Officer" page on Facebook. It's a contest Deputy Raschke has entered using the viral photo of the furry friends. Right now, Dagger is winning the photo contest, but a cute Alabama lab is close.
"They keep giving us, I have to say, a run for our money, because we keep switching the lead. Right now, we're in the lead but I don't know how long that will last for," she says.
You can vote up to five times a day for K9 Dagger on Facebook. The contest ends Wednesday night (7/31) at midnight.
LINK: Here is where you can vote for Dagger on the K9 Officer page: https://www.facebook.com/K9LawOfficer
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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