Made An Unusual Discovery…

Made An Unusual Discovery…

As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am passionate about K9 deaths due to handler negligence, especially hot car deaths. To digress a bit, I fact check everything several times using different sources because I’ve come to find that mainstream media is often rife with errors. For example with a recent K9 death there were four different ages given for the dog and worse, some media referred to the K9 as male while others wrote female. The K9 (who was killed in the line of duty) was a male.

I was doing research and fact checking data on a K9 who was part of a department in one of our southern states. Because of handler neglect the dog was forgotten for over five hours in a locked patrol car that didn’t  have heat sensors. This occurred during the middle of the day when the heat is highest plus in the south states it’s always hotter  and more humid than their northern counterparts. Sadly the K9 died.   During the course of reading I stumbled upon something that almost made me vault from the chair in shock. Another K9 died in a hot car death due to egregious negligence earlier in 2015. This happened in a southern state as well but a different one. When I checked the distance, there is over 300 miles between the two locations; it wasn’t as if the two departments were even remotely close to one another. I don’t know about you but with the exception of relatives and old acquaintances I don’t arbitrarily know people who live 300 miles away. Yet I found a connection between these two handlers and it was a somewhat new connection; they weren’t old social media friends. I even checked as far back as I could on the youngest handler but he had never lived nor worked in the other state. I should mention that I discovered the connection on a social media site and the individuals involved were rather cryptic in their comments which is to be expected. However finding a connection of any type seemed odd and out-of-place. That I began to wonder; do these disgraced law enforcement officers purposely reach out to each other? I know that officers who have lost a K9 in the line of duty or due to sickness or age after retirement are often comforted by other handlers who have lost their  K9 partner in a similar way. That seems appropriate and normal. But for two officers whose negligence alone was the cause of death in  otherwise healthy K9s  to be corresponding (one handler has been charged with a felony and fired by his department) ~ now that seems very strange.

So I’m on a mission. Yes America is a free country and the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech however something isn’t right here. Is there a secret group reserved just for police officers whose carelessness and negligence are the direct cause of their K9 partners life?

If there is a great physical distance between two small town police departments, how did they suddenly begin communicating after the death of their dogs? It almost smacks of collusion and I definitely don’t like it.

When a handler loses their K9 partner they are usually devastated. On June 24, 2016, retired Clearwater, Florida K9 Officer Major  was laid to rest due to medical issues. He served the Clearwater Police Department and the city of Clearwater for six years before being retired in 2014. Below is a touching tribute written by his partner, Sgt. Michael Spitaleri:

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Saying GoodBye To Major

To my faithful partner,

Today has been the most difficult day of my career. I made the decision to end your pain and suffering, however I’m hurting far more than I anticipated. I already miss you, buddy.

I remember picking you up from the airport right before we began K-9 school together. My first impression wasn’t accurate. I thought you were small and you appeared to be a bit timid at first glance. I honestly didn’t know if you had what it took to be a police dog. Nonetheless, we started K-9 school together in November of 2008. I quickly learned my initial assessment was wrong. You proved yourself to me time and time again. Your willingness to please me, your loyalty, and your fearlessness was very apparent as we progressed and graduated K-9 school in March 2009.

As a team, we had immediate success on the road. During our first week together that March, you successfully tracked and located a man who threatened his wife with a knife. Our skills and ability got better day in and day out from that point. Throughout the years, we located dozens of criminals, illegal narcotics, firearms, and other items of evidentiary value. These arrests and finds wouldn’t have been possible without you. You made me look like a superstar at times; truth be told, I was nothing more than the guy who held your leash.

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Your reputation with our coworkers was highly respected. I always laughed when we would train with the SWAT team. During those training sessions we were around some of the toughest men I have ever had the privilege of working alongside. When I would get you out of the car I would watch as these tough men would find the nearest corner of the room in an attempt to be as far away from you as possible, because they thought you were “crazy.” You weren’t crazy; you were my protector. You were their protector. You knew no limits and you would stop at nothing to make sure we made it home safely to our families. You took your job seriously.

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I’ll never forget when I would try and key the radio to talk. It never failed; as soon as I got our call sign out “K4” to the dispatcher you would begin barking so loud they couldn’t hear a thing I was trying to say. I would get messages and/or requests from the dispatchers to repeat my transmissions. They knew I couldn’t stand it when you “talked” over me; however it was something you never grew out of. We still laugh about it to this day.

When you retired in 2014 due to medical conditions, the adjustment to being a normal dog was difficult for you. You would watch me get ready and run to the door in anticipation of going to work. I know you didn’t understand the reasons I retired you, however I did it because I loved you, buddy. I wanted to make sure your medical conditions didn’t get worse. I wanted you to live a good quality life during your retirement. You deserved that and I stand by my decision. Just like you looked out for me every single shift, it was my turn to look out for you and protect you.

Although I know you didn’t enjoy retirement like humans do, I’m proud to say you adjusted as much as you could. You became my wife’s dog. You became my children’s dog. You made sure they were protected when Daddy went to work with his new dog, Echo. You would lay by my kids’ door at night while they slept, almost as if to say “I got them, Daddy, you go to work, and they’ll be fine”. I felt at peace knowing you were home keeping them safe. Thank you for protecting them like you protected me for all of those years.

I could go on and on about you. You made me the K-9 handler that I am today. You never met a challenge that you didn’t rise to the occasion. You were a great partner and I am forever thankful for you.

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Major, I love you and I will always remember our time together. Please go find the nearest police officer when you get to heaven and tell them you are a police dog and you are reporting for duty.

Until I see you again………….

Love,

Dad

You’ll Always Be With Me..

You’ll Always Be With Me..

I dreaded today with a passion for its the first anniversary of my beloved dog’s ~ strike that, my best friends death. One year ago today  I gave Callie my final gift,  the freedom that took her beyond the reach of illness and discomfort. I owed her that and tenfold for her never wavering love and devotion. Some people say ” It’s just a dog”; they obviously have never known the unconditional love of a canine companion. They’ve never had what seemed like the weight of the world on their shoulders suddenly ease after a loving companion laid their head on a lap as if to say ” I’m here for you”. They’ve never come home after a day when life beat them down only to be greeted by a furiously wagging tail and warm brown eyes. They’ve never had their spirit eroded by the cruelty of man only to have it restored by a long walk with their 4-legged BFF. Callie Ann was my “heart” dog. For some inexplicable reason we shared an uncanny bond. From the time I adopted her at 8 weeks she had the ability to hone in on my emotions which amazed me to the end. If I raised my voice or even shed a tear in silence she immediately came to my side and refused to leave until convinced I was fine. She loved the sound of classical music (ok ok and other genres like electronic, techno and the blues) . When she was going through her wild puppy, alligator teeth stage I used to turn on Liszt’s ” Sonata in B Minor”, Pachelbel’s “Canon and Gigue in D” or what was to become our favorite – Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”. It miraculously calmed her and music remained a huge portion of her life till the end.

Callie was so much more than a dog who ate, pooped, made trips to the veterinarian, barked at a knock on the door and occasionally passed gas that had the power to knock out an elephant.I was closer to her than I’ve ever been with anyone or anything in my life. When my grown children didn’t have time to talk to me on the phone or respond to my emails/texts ~ she filled my lonely cup. I could never have a simple conversation with my husband because he’s afflicted with what I refer to as “elective mutism”; he chooses not to talk. Once again Callie was there to fill my loneliness. Looking back I wonder if she ever thought “Mom sure talks a lot”.

I’m beginning to appreciate a decade of precious moments Callie Ann shared with me, of  hours she spent by my side as I told her my goals, setbacks and concerns. I’m starting to remember the happy shared memories as opposed to the tear-stained, heart wrenching grief of her final days. I’m opening the “Memory Book” permanently imprinted in my mind;  the one we created during our wonderful years together; her puppy months when she dug so many holes I considered renting her out as a grave-digger. Of her puppy teeth that I compared to those of an alligator. I remember her quirky “Callie-isms” like not walking past the basement door if it was open but rather backing up and taking a different route. The day I replaced the old floor heater vent with a new one, Callie would no longer walk by it instead opting for her backwards trot. Her fear of thunder and gunshots (thank heaven for the ThunderShirt). Greeting the UPS man faithfully. Going into the woods and proudly bringing me home bones (don’t ask). Then there’s Pinky. Callie loved her Pinky (actually she had two ). One day when she was about 7 months old I washed both  and hung them on the line to dry. As you can see, Callie patiently staked out the clothesline watching them. She continued to love them gently her entire life; I can’t recall ever sewing a rip. She would gently groom Pinky. The adult pictures are of Callie and Pinky when she was 9 in the spring of 2015. Pinky went with her for chemo as well as her final visit to the vet. I had it cremated with her and I have the other one. I miss that sweet girl!

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I’ve also derived happiness at knowing that the summer of 2015 was one of Callie’s best summers ever. She ventured further into the water during “River Days” than ever before. I hold dear the images of her standing there as the waters flowed over her legs; she was truly in a state of bliss. As the dogs exited the vehicle on River Days and raced down to the river I’d always play a guessing game with myself ~ “Who will enter the water first today?”. That summer it was usually Callie! My land loving labby had finally channeled her inner water-loving self! In retrospect it was her last hurrah.

I miss you Angel and always will till the day we meet again. Until then, thank you for ten years of complete devotion, for listening to me talk when no one else had time, for always making me feel special, for patiently sitting still while I photographed you wearing holiday hats and costumes. Thank you for the companionship on road trips and for being so gentle with the grands when they became rambunctious. For allowing me to brush your incredibly hairy bumpkas even though you didn’t like it, sitting still while I swabbed your mouth for a doggy DNA test. Most of all, thank you for being “you” and for loving me unconditionally. It worked both ways my beautiful black angel.

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Our favorite song ~Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”

Beautiful visuals in the video

It’s been a difficult week for me but writing about Callie has helped me tremendously. I haven’t even been on Twitter to promote my K9 petitions. No emails or phone calls. I don’t  know if anyone has read my Callie posts because when I’m this sad I tend to withdraw. I’m going to do one more post that will focus on Maddie and Callie, our #SistersFromAnotherMother. For some inexplicable reason the thought of these ♥︎♥︎two black angels♥︎♥︎ being together has brought me solace this past year. I hope Maddie’s mom feels the same.

In closing, I’d like to share that  November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. 

Every time you use post a picture of your pet on social media (the sites are listed in the link) along with #CurePetCancer, Nationwide will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation.

Callie Ann…

Callie Ann…

One year ago today  I was less selfish than I’ve ever been before. At 1:15 pm on November 6, 2015,  I  set my very best friend free. I think of that last lick on my hand or her hair that stuck to my clothes as I lay beside her in her final hours. I remember those deep, soulful brown eyes that will never greet me with such joyful expression or meet mine from the backseat of “her” Honda. I’ll never enjoy her comforting presence at my side, each basking in our inherent mutual trust and it breaks my heart all over again.  I know some people don’t understand and say “it’s just a dog.” But she saved my life in more ways than one. She was my muse, the reason to put one foot in front of the other when life had nearly defeated me. She gave me something that no single human, animal, or event had ever managed to do before and I will be eternally grateful for being blessed when I adopted that  little black puppy from Calais, Maine  in 2005.

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My  life is never going to be quite the same.Yes I have other companion animals that I love with all my heart. They make me laugh, always keeping me on my toes with their individually unique personalities. They shower me with love and affection as do I them.  I spend more time and money on their medical care than on my own and that’s ok; they’re family. Yet something is missing, an essence that Callie brought forth every single day. I can’t describe our bond. It was like the once in a lifetime love many people have with  a companion, beautiful but beyond words. I miss my love and look forward to the day I am reunited with my beautiful black girl.

Sisters From Another Mother…

Sisters From Another Mother…

Shortly after Callie was diagnosed with Canine Lymphoma in October, 2015 I joined a Facebook Support Group for Canine Cancer. I saw a post by another member from Maine so began watching for her in the group. One day she posted a photograph of her dog Maddie which took my breath away. Maddie and Callie could have been litter mates they resembled each other so much. Both jet black with flippy floppy ears, deep brown eyes and labrador mix. The poster lives north of me and I adopted Callie Ann from a PAWS shelter in Calais which is also north. Callie Ann was part of a litter of nine jet black puppies so I wondered “Could it be?” I finally got the nerve to ask the owner where she got Maddie and she told me she rescued her off the street. The vet thought she was probably about four months old so the dates didn’t coincide. Yet in my mind I began to think of these two brave fighters as “Sisters from Another Mother”.

Our beloved girls both lost their battles; Callie on November 6 an Maddie on December 7. Maddie’s mom and I shared our grief because Maddie was her “heart” dog just as Callie was mine.

I made up a little poem and started posting it every Sunday morning at 0733 along with a picture that I’d put their names on. I try to use photos that I’ve actually taken (like the cover photo for this post) but must admit that stock photos are usually nicer than anything I photograph. When I decided to leave Facebook, I continued to post the poem and picture on Twitter every Sunday morning and have my daughter post it on her Facebook timeline so that Maddie’s mom can see it. I try to alternate their names weekly ~ Callie first one week and Maddie the next.

“If tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart, for every time you think of me, I’m right here, in your heart.”

#PrayerForMaddie#PrayerFor Callie

#SistersFromAnotherMother

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And here are our angels!

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A Poem For Callie…

A Poem For Callie…

MAY I GO

May I go now?
Do you think the time is right?
May I say goodbye to pain filled days
and endless lonely nights?

I’ve lived my life and done my best,
an example tried to be.
So can I take that step beyond
and set my spirit free?

I didn’t want to go at first,
I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now
to a warm and loving light.

I want to go. I really do.
It’s difficult to stay.
But I will try as best I can
to live just one more day.

To give you time to care for me
and share your love and fears.
I know you’re sad and afraid,
because I see your tears.

I’ll not be far, I promise that,
and hope you’ll always know
that my spirit will be close to you
wherever you may go.

Thank you so for loving me.
You know I love you, too.
That’s why it’s hard to say goodbye
and end this life with you.

So hold me now just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you’ll let me go today.

“Dedicated to everyone who has ever had to have  a beloved dog laid to rest.”

Author: Susan A. Jackson

 

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I cannot take credit for this poem as it was written by Susan A. Jackson, a gifted author and poet who penned it after she had to make the heart wrenching decision to have her beloved dog laid to rest. Although our paths never crossed, Susan lived in my native New Jersey. She wrote this over fifteen years ago and it remains a well-loved poem for the loss of a pet as well as a human family member, often for a hospice patient.

I Am Your Dog…

I Am Your Dog…

Dear Human,

I am your dog, and I have a little something I’d like to whisper in your ear; I know that you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise. It always seems like you are running here and there, often much too fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer. See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now. That comes with age. The grey hairs are beginning to ring my soft muzzle. You smile at me; I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside, who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time?

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Callie Ann ~ 10 years March 2015 (8 months before she passed)

That is all I ask; To slow down, if even for a few minutes to be with me. So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind, passing.Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age so slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes. Still the love is always there, even when we must take that long sleep, to run free in a distant land.

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She had a way of getting me outside in the sun like no one else could ! July 2015

I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just “One more day” with me.

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Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me. We have NOW, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor, and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as “alpha” or as “trainer” or even “Mom or Dad,” come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another’s eyes, and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general. You decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share such things with. Someone very different from you, and here I am.

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Callie Ann April 14, 2005

I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a “Dog on two feet” ~ I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if only for 15 minutes. Look deep into my eyes, and whisper to my ears.

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Callie Ann aka Callie Angel

Speak with your heart, with your joy and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow, and life is oh so very short.

So please… come sit with me now and let us share the precious moments we have together.

Love,
Your Dog

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Tribute To My Callie…

Tribute To My Callie…

♥︎♥︎♥︎ Where to Bury a Dog…♥︎♥︎♥︎

But there is one place that is best of all…

If you bury her in this spot, the secret of which you must already have,

She will come to you when you call

Come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death,

and down the well-remembered path

                                                           and to your side again.                                                                                                                                           

And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel,

They shall not growl at her, nor resent her coming,

For she is yours and she belongs there.

People may scoff at you,

Who see no lightest blade of grass bent by her foot fall,

Who hear no whimper pitched too fine for audition,

People who may have never really had a dog.

Smile at them, for you shall know something that is hidden from them,

And which is well worth knowing.

The one best place to bury a dog is in the heart of her master.

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Callie Ann Feb. 16, 2005 ~ Nov 6, 2015