It’s been a tough week filled with major life changes.
From losing Hondo on January 1st, to starting in a new section within the VPD on January 2nd, to our new puppy arriving on January 3rd, to a home reno starting later this month…well, I’ve never started a year with such upheaval before.
I’ll fill you in on the pup and the new job during future posts. As for the home reno – it’s going to be plain crazy around here.
Now about Hondo.
It’s been hard. Tougher than I expected. From taking his collar and leash out of my pocket upon my return home, to writing the last post, to cleaning out his home kennel, food dish and water bucket…I don’t think you’re ever supposed to be 100% prepared for those tasks.
But there are some things that make this difficult time more bearable.
First, the outpouring of support from all of you, both in and out of the VPD, has been tremendous. Our family has read each expression of sympathy and comfort, and your sincere words are like a balm. For that, we thank you.
Second, the support from police dog handlers has been heartfelt, and it is the strength of their understanding and compassion that I’ve leaned on. To the handlers – I thank you.
Third, I’m secure in the knowledge that Hondo loved the life he lived.
Hondo was a very driven dog whose purpose was filled by working. General patrol dog work came naturally to him, and he proved to be an excellent narcotics and firearms detection dog. He loved working with the VPD’s Public Order Unit, and he was fearless during the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot.
Hondo was motivated and determined. He was protective and, when he needed to be, fierce. He was loyal, friendly and sometimes goofy. Hondo was great with kids, and was known to cause mass giggling when he flopped over on his back in the middle of a kindergarten class to get his belly rubbed.
If looked at from a dog’s perspective, Hondo’s life was pretty cool.
Finally, I know I’m one of the lucky ones. Not many have had the opportunity to work alongside a police dog, and it really is an experience like no other. I was blessed to have worked with such a wonderful animal.
To quote one reader, Hondo and I shared friendship, loyalty and love. For Hondo, it was a life time. For me, it was 8 years with no regrets and sweet memories.
The bond between handler and dog runs deep.
Some of you have asked if there will be a memorial service. There will not be, as those events are reserved for when a K9 is killed in the line of duty.
And that’s the way it should be.
I’ve also been asked if I will continue to blog and keep up with the Twitter account.
Here’s a firm “Yes” to both.
The job of policing continues after re-assignment and even after the loss of a partner. I’m not sure what my future holds, but I am sure of one thing – this blog will continue. Like policing and dog handling, writing is in my blood.
“When our time together is done
And you move on in the world,
Remember me with kind thoughts and tales.
For a time we were unbeatable,
Nothing passed among us undetected.
If we should meet again on another street,
I will gladly take up your fight.
I am a Police Working Dog, and together,
We are Guardians of the Night.”
- excerpt of poem, Guardians of the Night