On June 14, 2014 the Canadian Mounted Police suffered one of their worst days. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Dave Ross, along with fellow officers Fabrice Gevaudan and Douglas Larche, were killed by a shooter in Mocton, New Brunswick while on duty. Constable Ross was a K9 officer, partnered with Danny. Danny was not hurt during rampage that killed his partner, not physically, anyway. At the regimental funeral Danny walked in the funeral procession alongside an officer who was holding Ross’s Stetson hat. Danny was heard whimpering throughout the service, according to the Global News. He understood that his partner was gone from this existence and he was suffering, just as we do when we lose a beloved. There are stories of animals that never recover from the loss of their beloved humans everywhere. “Hachi” is a movie based on the true story of a dog named Hachikō in the 1920s in Tokyo, Japan, owned by Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. The loyal Akita accompanied his master every day to the station and was waiting faithfully every day upon his return. When Hidesaburō Ueno died suddently in 1925, Hachikō spent the next nine years waiting daily at the Shibuya station. His faithfulness made him a national hero and a national symbol of loyalty. Statues have been erected in his name, and his stuffed body is on display in the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo. Then there is the Argentinian dog named Capitán who sat every evening for six years on his owner’s grave. According to theweek.com, Miguel Guzman bought Capitan for his son, Damian, in 2005. After Guzman died the next year, Capitan disappeared. A week after the funeral, the family returned to the cemetery in central Argentina and found Capitan there, howling. The heartbroken dog had found the cemetery and tomb on his own, and has lived there ever since, sleeping on Guzman’s grave. “I’ve tried to bring Capitan home several times,” Damian, 13, says, “but he always comes straight back… He’s looking after my dad.” Then there’s the story of Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson’s Lab Hawkeye, who laid down next to his casket throughout his funeral service, refusing to leave his side. Leao is a mixed breed who stayed at her owner’s side as she died during the 2011 flood and mudslides in Brazil, laying at the earthen grave of her beloved, refusing to leave. Then we have our very own Hachi, a Border collie from Montana named Shep, who maintained a vigil at the train station for six years beginning in 1936 after seeing the coffin of his master loaded onto a train. The stories go on and on. The love is real and it’s reciprocal. It cuts both ways. They suffer our loss just as we suffer theirs. This is why it’s so critical that you make plans and arrangements for your beloveds in the here and now because this kind of loyalty deserves to be rewarded, and if you don’t the travesty of what could be is unconscionable. I know because I have seen it during my years of donating time at the shelter. One especially egregious story is that of the beautiful Cocker Lela, who was left in the loving arms of Bruce when Jenny died, except Bruce found he couldn’t keep his promise because illness forced him to leave his home. Lela’s screams as she grabbed onto Bruce’s leg as he left her at the shelter are a sound that has seared my soul forever. Jenny’s children wanted no part of Lela, so Bruce was left was a heart broken by so much more than just the grief from the loss of Jenny, and Lela was lost with losing so much more than just Bruce and Jenny. Dying isn’t the hard part. It is in the living where the difficulties lie and grieving for the loss of an important presence in your life is almost unbearable. I know. I’ve been living with such a loss since I lost my Action Jackson last July, and I miss his smile in everything I do. The love between man and beast is real and true, and it’s forever. It changes the fabric of time. There is no forgetting, ever, and nothing is ever the same again for any involved. The naysayers will say you can read whatever you want into the behavior of animals. I feel sorry for them that they are so narrow in the ability of their heart to see love that they miss out on what could be the best part of living. So Danny, I understand your feelings of loss. I wish I were there to comfort you because we are kindred souls that are missing our beloveds. So from my soul to yours, feel the love.
And never forget, it is only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.