Proud to be from Pittsburgh: Police K-9 dog comforting community after Tree of Life tragedy

Proud to be from Pittsburgh: Police K-9 dog comforting Squirrel Hill

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh police officer who joined the force after the Tree of Life tragedy changed the community and department in a big way.

With belly rubs and hugs, the department's comfort dog visits everyone – even beyond the city.

"Zane" joined the force in May at just nine weeks old. He is now eight-and-a-half months old and works with Officer Victoria Butch. She loves her partner but was skeptical at first.

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"Before that incident if you would have asked me if a dog like Zane belongs on the police force, I would have said no," Butch said. "But seeing… other dogs like him in action at the Tree of Life, right before debriefings, people were opening up."

Butch admitted it has taken some time to get her fellow officers on board with Zane's purpose.


Since Zane's debut, the golden retriever has worked all over the city, visiting firefighters and school children, hospital workers and even the Pirate Parrot.

Butch said it is like Zane was born to comfort our community.

Zane and Butch work hard every day to help those who were affected by the Tree of Life tragedy.

"Even though they were going through the most traumatic thing they've probably ever been through – hopefully ever will be through – and they took care of us. So, it's a way of us taking care of them now. Like saying, ‘Hi,' and stopping and seeing them," said Butch.

Officers Zane and Butch make us proud to be from Pittsburgh.