HUNTINGTON - Nick Bloomfield woke up well before dawn Wednesday morning knowing he was headed to a SWAT raid in Huntington's West End.
He did not expect to go to bed that night with a new dog running around his house.
For as much game-planning that Huntington Police does beforehand, there's no telling what's behind a door once it's kicked in.
In the blur of banging and yelling that followed as he and the rest of HPD's SWAT team rushed into a house in the 300 block of 9th Street West, a scared little pit bull puppy frantically bounced around the room as his owners were arrested.
The raid was one of two conducted simultaneously by Huntington Police around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday - the other at nearby 900 Washington Ave. - where four Michigan men were arrested on drug charges. The operation is thought to be part of a larger, multistate drug trafficking ring selling in Huntington.
Pit bulls are typically kept by drug dealers for protection and provoked to be aggressive, explained Bloomfield, who's been with HPD for four years. This one, a pup 6 to 12 weeks old, hadn't yet been pushed to violent tendencies. It instead ran from the intruding SWAT team.
And when the dust and adrenaline settled as police combed the house, he and Bloomfield made quick friends, even before he could take off his SWAT gear. The little pup wasn't so different than the 2-year-old rescue pit bull he has at home already - "a 90-pound baby," as he called him.
"They're gentle giants," Bloomfield said of the breed. "(Pit bulls) get a bad rep, but it's all about how you raise them.
"If you get them early enough and raise them right, they're the best dogs you'll ever have."
As with any animal taken during a police raid, the puppy was initially turned over to animal control at the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter.
But after a lot of calming pets and licks took the edge off an intense morning, Bloomfield couldn't let that dog stay the night at the already-crowded shelter.
By that afternoon, he offered to foster the still-unnamed puppy. The animal still technically belongs to its previous owners, but will stay with Bloomfield and his older 2-year-old pit bull until the courts could rule his fate - whether it returns to them or can be forfeited.
Ultimately, Bloomfield said he would like to adopt him for good.
Follow reporter Bishop Nash on Twitter at @BishopNash.