Veteran NYPD Highway Patrol Officer Anastasios Tsakos’ big heart included a love of lost dogs.
The 43-year-old cop, struck and killed on the job early Tuesday by an accused drunken driver, found time during his shifts to rescue a few wandering stray dogs on the city’s streets, according to a friend and former NYPD detective.
“So polite, so professional, so loving,” recalled retired cop and animal lover Lisa Cutrone about her former colleague. “It’s a big loss.”
Cutrone, a 41-year retired NYPD veteran, recalled Wednesday how Tsakos shut down a Queens stretch of the Belt Parkway while rescuing a lost and terrified Shih Tzu spotted running along the highway about 18 months ago.
“Chasing the little dog in his boots and all that gear,” she recounted fondly. “He went above and beyond. That little dog was terrified and biting him. And he just wanted to see that dog safe.”
Animal rights activist Christine Drakatos, in a Facebook post after the cop’s death, recalled how Tsakos drove the Shih Tzu to her Far Rockaway home for care.
“He called me constantly to find out how that dog was doing. He also called a few other times for other found animals. He was a big animal lover/rescuer,” wrote Drakatos.
“I am so sorry your life was taken from you. Thank you for keeping us safe, and for saving so many fur babies.”
Cutrone recalled her first meeting with Tsakos in the Brooklyn courts about six years ago, where the two animal lovers bonded and exchanged phone numbers. Tsakos later called after rescuing a wolfhound during his shift, and Cutrone drove out to pick up the “old and smelly” dog.
“We cleaned him up and found him a home,” she said. “Really, it was special. Too many people give us their problems and walk away. He didn’t.”