bella and travis1

I just wanted to share with you and your readers something that happened last week. My son, Travis, a police officer and canine handler for the Massena Police Department, lost his beloved companion Bella, a beautiful chocolate lab he had raised since she was a puppy, nine years ago. Even in his grief, he went above and beyond his sworn oath, “to protect and serve.”

The heartbreak of losing her goes beyond words……and so many of his family and friends are now sharing his pain.

It was only a day before that he realized something was terribly wrong with her, and he rushed her to the vets hoping that they could find out and help her get better. After blood tests, and x-rays, the doctor told him that she was in early stages of kidney failure and her prognosis wasn’t very good.

“Does she have any hope at all,” he asked, and once he heard the words, “yes, there is always hope” he asked the vet to do all her could to help make her better. I got a call the next morning and he was a little more optimistic. He stopped in to see her, and even in her weakened state, she wagged her tail when she saw him and returned his hugs.

Later that day, he stopped in again to check on her, and Bella still seemed very weak, but he thought maybe it was just the medication, and he still held hopes she would pull through this. Travis kissed her “good-bye” before he left; she responded to him once again by wagging her tail and even though he had to help her raise her head she returned his kiss.

Less than an hour later, he got the call he thought might come, but hoped against all odds, that it wouldn’t…… Bella had passed away. The phone call I received from him was so upsetting to me, after all, he was a police officer, and they are supposed to be so tough, aren’t they?

Well contrary to recent news articles and popular belief, this is so far from the truth. A large majority of our law enforcement actually have hearts larger than so many of us could ever hope to have……..and I am proud to say, my son is one of those men.

“They told me to come and pick Bella up.” Without thinking clearly, I actually thought maybe they were telling him to bring her home where she could continue to heal. “No mom,” he said in a broken voice, “they told me to come and pick her up.” smiley-blind-dog-JoanneGeorge-FB-750px

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My heart dropped. I couldn’t believe what he had just told me…I really believed she would pull through this and be okay again. Travis was asked if he wanted to pick her up and because he had already decided to have her cremated the only question he wanted me to answer was, should he see her one last time, knowing she would no longer be that peppy, happy dog that he had shared his life with for so any years.

I told him it was his choice alone, and it might give him the closure he may need at this time to help accept what had happened to her.

Serving Others Even in His Grief

When he arrived at the crematory, he spoke with the man in charge and they discussed how many people choose this way, so they can always have that memory of their beloved pets that much closer to them.

There was one couple from out of town, he went on to tell him, that wanted to be able to bring their dog home with them….but had little money for the cost of the cremation and couldn’t find anyone from their area that offered extended payment plans. They somehow found out about this one, and the owner agreed to accept their payments, letting them know that after full payment, he would release the dog to them.

Travis had no idea who this family was, and regardless of his own grief and heartache he was feeling at that moment, and the worry about his own expenses with the vet bills and the cremation, he asked the owner to accept payment from him, in full, so this family could bring their beloved dog home with them now, instead of waiting three more months.OfficersKindness-WKYT-VideoNewsgraphic

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When he told me this, I broke down and cried, but not just tears of sadness, but tears of pride that I felt for my son.

This is the kind of man I have been fortunate enough to call my son. He does more than take an oath to serve and protect. I am so proud of him. I love you, Travis.