If Joe had shed any tears over his fate — tied to a fence in a New York City park — it would have been hard to notice for the puddle of water he sat shivering in.
In fact, it was hard to notice the 11-month-old pit-bull mix at all on that cold December day in Betsy Head Park. The rush of people hurrying to get to where they were going must have seemed endless, all the while oblivious to the tragedy unfolding at their feet.
But while on a routine patrol in the area, NYPD officer Michael Pascale caught a glimpse of the abandoned dog.
"Just out of the corner of my eye I saw him," he told the New York Post. "I jumped out of the car before the car even stopped."
He found the scarcely moving, but still managing a whimper.
The officer wrapped the near-frozen dog in a towel.
"He was just looking up at me with these eyes … sitting in this puddle of water," Pascale added. "I knew I had to get him out of there."
Pascale and his partner wasted no time in ushering Joe to a local shelter. A triumphant photo of the pair was taken and later tweeted by NYPD Special Ops.
And that's where you might think the chance encounter between Pascale and Joe would end.
But three weeks would pass and Joe was still at the shelter looking for a family. So Pascale, who had been keeping tabs on the dog, came to his rescue once again.
And this rescue would last a lifetime. Last week, after filling out the adoption papers, Pascale took Joe home for good.
"I felt a connection," he told News 12. "I felt responsibility to make sure that he was going to have a good home, especially after what he experienced that day."