Jesus Has A Dog, This I Know
January 8, 2010-journal entry
Since taking in Jake, Sgt. Chaney’s retired police K9, our family has come to love him already. I feel very fortunate to have this bonding experience with one of our department's greatest K9s and most decorated officers. For him to live out the rest of his life with me and my family, I feel very honored. I can't express in words what an awesome dog he was and the service he gave us. Every patrol officer flocked to him because he was that spectacular. It really is kind of a selfish feeling for me. I can't help it. I am proud and he brings joy to the house. He is given the royal spoilage that any great hero would be granted.
He has motivated my daughter to clean her "hoarder" of a so-called bedroom.
I’d like to say she gained that trait from my ex-husband (who is in this story), her father...
"Yes, you’re welcome."
She told me today after taking out two bags of clothing donations and garbage, "Mom, I'm sweating fire. I have to have a clean room so Jake doesn't get lost." She knows he has arthritis and seriously...she knows he would get lost in that disaster. I didn't raise a dummy. She is very intelligent.
Jake has come to love the feather comforter on my bed and the rug by the fireplace. A dog after my own heart. I wonder if he likes red wine?
He has developed, however, my old age view of THE CHASE. Today, in subzero weather, he started chasing a rabbit. He went about 20 feet, turned around, and came back. He slept for an hour. Jake, buddy, I feel your pain.
He and I truly know the thrill of the hunt...and to know when the chase is futile is only known to me. He seems to disregard that notion. After all, I’m highly intelligent like my daughter (pats to myself on the back) and a person also knows how to adapt, adjust, and overcome their short comings. I will have to show Jake that even if we are too old for the chase, we will always win the hunt. Me…with the PoPo car, not my feet.
January 10, 2010-journal entry
It was January 10, 2010, a day it felt like the world stood still near the icy waters of the North Platte River. We had sat down with our daughter and told her the news. She, of course, was hysterical because she treated Jake as her dog.
She said it was her fault because she let him out to pee and he didn't come back. It doesn't matter how much you tell your little girl it isn't her fault, she is going to carry that weight of the world. I held her for as long as I could while she cried. I told her Jesus would take good care of him. I can imagine what Jake will do when each person enters the Pearly Gates. Look out folks, no one is touching Jesus. Jake is a monster when it comes to protection.
We have our faith and it is what we cling to in situations where death goes unexplained. I guess I can't imagine it any other way and my daughter understands things put in biblical terms. It may not ease the grief, but it helps to cope. Maybe it is our way of finding some peace in a tragedy.
On top of all this, I had to go to work and face telling my sergeant the news. So, I donned my uniform and gun belt and headed to town. On the way, I called my sergeant, bawling, and explained to him what had happened. Not a very strong moment for a cop because I was trying to do it without sounding like a blubbering idiot. Mission failed.
He was sad, but so gracious. He said, "At least Jake went out with his boots on. It's ok. It's not your fault. He was doing what he loved to do." Our conversation ended in mid-sentence because I think he had to hang the phone up. His voice had started to crack, I heard sniffles (he might deny that), and he last said he had to tell his wife who was also very close to Jake.
After facing the guilt with Sarge, my daughter brought the sorrow right back with her requests to me. She called me on the phone and pitifully spoke, "Mommy, will you please print those pictures of Jake from your camera? Thank you. I love you." She started to cry and said she “had to go now.”
I arrived at work with my tears wiped away and my sturdy work face on, but the guys could tell I was a wreck underneath. That, and my face shows all signs of blubbering with blooshot eyes and red cheeks.
They knew something just wasn't right. And they pry...because they are "Neanderthals" that don't know when to shut up and leave things alone, but God love them. But, I couldn't tell them yet. It was too new and I couldn't cry in front of them.
Later my husband called and said he had put on the ice rescue suit and went out on the ice to look for Jake. He said Jake's tracks went straight for the water and near the edge...his last tracks were at a run. On the edge of the ice were duck feathers…some on the ice, some floating in the water, and the rabbit tracks had veered to the right.
My husband was crying as he told me this and he said, "There is no way. There was no way he could have survived. It was too cold and frozen and we all know what happens in the river. I am sorry. We are all sad."
I snuck into the back hallway of the police department, where they keep Jake's trophies, photos, and newspaper clippings. Not that I don't have access to go there, just didn't want anyone to see me cry. He was a hero to our department for many years and to my little girl for just a short time.
Here I am about 6 hours into my 12 hour shift and I have been crying on and off all night alone in my patrol car, in the hallway, in the locker room. Good thing it isn't busy. And so I find time to write this down.
God must be watching out for me.
I have to suck it up.
When I go home tonight, I am going to miss my greeting...no more soft warm noses up the butt when I came through the front door in my uniform at 3:30 am. Some guardian angels have fur instead of wings.
Jake will surely be missed by all and especially me.