Recently I received a call late at night from a pastor who advised me that his parishioner, a K9 officer and his dog had been shot by a suspect who was stopped for having misdemeanor warrants. The shooting took place in a town of about 25,000 in which I had recently served as the officer's pastor and as a law enforcement chaplain. The police department in the town has not been enjoying the best of reputations as two of its officers had recently been convicted of federal felony charges.
The pastor advised me that the officer was being transported by ambulance to the Trauma Center in the town in which I am now serving. I advised the pastor that I would be waiting at the Center when he arrived as it was about a 50 mile journey. The pastor also advised me that the dog had expired as result of his wounds.
Not knowing what to expect and watching the trauma team assemble, I was trying to prepare for the worst.
Who would have thought that when the officer arrived that he was conscious and that the round had entered his pelvis and exited his back missed his bones and any vital organs? Who would have thought that he would be released from the hospital just a few hours after arriving?
Upon the officer's arrival, I was advised by another officer who accompanied him in the ambulance that the K9 was alive. Not only was he alive but he had been transported to a major veterinary center in our city by a medical helicopter and that a veterinarian had flown with him. Who would have thought?
After the officer was released from the hospital, I immediately transported him and his wife to the veterinary hospital. The dog was in critical condition having been shot twice; once in the chest and once in the side. The next afternoon, the veterinarian in charge if his care advised the officer, his wife and I that the dog was paralyzed and that there was nothing they could do about the paralysis but wait. The situation was very grave. It was agreed by all that a decision would be made in 72 hours.
Who would have thought that, 48 hours later, the dog would be able to stand with assistance and that the prognosis would be more favorable?
Who would have thought that the K9, whose name is Bosco, would become the hometown hero of not only the town in which he serves but in the large metropolitan city to which he was transported? Even in the department in which I now serve and in the parish in which I now serve, the most often asked question I receive is "How is Bosco?" Fundraisers are already being planned to help with the costs of Bosco's care.
This serves as a reminder to us who are a part of the law enforcement culture that many, if not most, in the communities in which we serve really do appreciate what we do and really do care!