NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter is mourning the loss of Newport News Police Officer Katie Thyne, an officer who was active in their “Tail Wagging Tuesday” program to showcase adoptable pets looking for forever homes.
Shelter staff tell 10 On Your Side they are revamping the program, which now has a different meaning.
“It was beyond overwhelming to see all of the pictures that were shared and the main one that came across was her kneeling down, holding that black dog, which is that Tail Wagging Tuesday photo,” Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter Program Coordinator Brigette Dugan said.
There’s a photo that has been shared across the internet, which staff believes captures the essence of Thyne.
“Of course all smiles, very bubbly and fantastic to work with,” Dugan said.
Dugan met Thyne through Tail Wagging Tuesday. The program is a partnership between the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter and the police department, and hopes to increase recruitment for the department and decrease the animal population at the shelter.
Thyne participated in the program over the summer.
“She came in with her field training officer at the time and they had a bonded pair of hounds, Ivy and Lilly,” said Dugan. “They came in and I had a wonderful experience with her. She’s a huge animal lover.”
Tail Wagging Tuesday has been on hiatus, but is coming back in the near future. The timing wasn’t planned, but now has more meaning.
“As we all know, Katie was a huge animal lover,” said Newport News Police Department Senior Communications Specialist Jamie Bastas. “She would want the program to continue. She would want the animals to find good homes.”
Bastas worked with Thyne at the police department. She says this is one way to honor her legacy.
“Seeing the community come together and stand together and vow to remember her, I think that’s the best way to honor her is to never forget. Never forget her sacrifice, never forget her family,” Bastas said.
Dugan says the shelter is working on some other projects to honor Thyne’s involvement with the community and shelter, but can’t share details just yet.