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Judge The Hero Dog: A Very Emotional Farewell

an Admittedly I’m a bit of a water cart. I cry at anything that tugs at the heart strings and sometimes it doesn’t take much to set me off. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve got strange stares on public transport because a sad story in a magazine I’m reading has caused me to get teary. And it just so happens that there was an article today that absolutely broke my heart and I feel quite teary as I write this. It was about a retired police dog called Judge who was recently put to sleep after his health had rapidly deteriorated due becoming terminally ill. imagesPUST9MNU We never had pets in our house when we were growing up for various reasons despite constant pleading from my two youngest siblings. But we got our animal fix when we went to visit aunts and uncles nearby who had cats, dogs, fish, and at one point a ferret and a tortoise (just not at the same time!) However I can’t hand on heart say that there was a void in my life because I didn’t have a pet. In fact because of my inexperience with animals, I always felt a little unsure of myself around them although this has gotten better as I’ve become older. But I still don’t know if I could ever see myself living with a furry friend. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like animals especially when they’re so frickin’ cute. I’m often amazed by their intelligence and the loyalty they show their owners. They really could put us humans to shame. So it’s no surprise that reading about Judge and the emotional farewell he received from his colleagues had me in floods of tears. j1 Judge, a nine year old German shepherd who had retired from his work with the police department at West Deptford, New Jersey in 2013, was given a farewell worthy of heroes – which he is. Distraught police officers  formed a guard of honour and saluted the hero dog as he walked past them with his training arm in his mouth as he was about to be driven to the animal hospital. I’ve seen many heartbreaking scenes in my time – and I have to say, this one got me.  More than thirty officers and a dozen K-9 units lined the streets  as Judge went on his last ever walk. Despite the stiff upper lips, the feeling of loss and devastation came through in the photos and even the most hardest of hearts couldn’t have failed to shed a tear. Judge had sadly grown so weak, that his handlers weren’t sure if he would be able to make it to the car. But proving he was made of stronger stuff, Judge amazed them all by his tight squeeze on the training arm which showed that he still had some strength left in him. j2   And that wasn’t all. Vets and specialists were lined up inside Swedesboro Animal Hospital in a touching tribute to the brave dog as Judge walked in, with one of the vets visibly overcome by emotion – and who could blame her? It really made me feel for the law enforcement officers who did very well to hide their inner turmoil. And it also made me feel for Judge because there was absolutely no way he didn’t know what was happening, and I just hope his last few moments weren’t filled with fear. Sgt. Dan Eliasen, who supervises the police department’s K-9 division, said:

“It’s about showing respect, but also the people who are here wanted to thank Judge for his service to the community. No one has forgotten what he’s done — and that includes protecting his partner and his community.”

j3 Although he retired two years ago due to problems with his teeth, over a period of time, his health became increasingly worse until police were forced to make the painful decision to end Judge’s suffering. $13,000 raised in one day for medical treatment for Judge plus the offer of free medical care from St. Francis Vetinary Hospital all came too late for the heroic dog who was recruited back in 2007 and had assisted in the arrest of more than one hundred and fifty criminals as well as the seizure of drugs, vehicles and firearms, and the confiscation of $47,000 in cash. He had undergone surgery and was on medication but when his liver grew so large that it crowded his stomach and left him unable to eat, there was nothing more that could be done. imagesUWPN9O3C Last year my aunt was forced to put her beloved cat to sleep as the poor kitty had become so ill and so weak that it was the only humane thing that could be done. My aunt had had her for years so I can only imagine her sense of loss. And it’s not just my aunt – I’ve had many friends who have suffered the loss of a beloved pet. They’ve often said that they felt they couldn’t publicly grieve because they felt that people wouldn’t understand and would think that they were daft crying over an animal. But it’s not just ‘an animal,’ is it? When you bring them into your home; feed them; play with them, look after them, love them, and give them a place within your family, how you could you possibly feel anything but devastation when they die? As one lady I know said after the death of her dog, “it doesn’t feel like I’ve lost an animal. To me, he was just like a person. A friend.” And that’s exactly what these little furry and not-so-furry creatures become – friends, and according to Mr. D. better friends than most humans (I hope he’s not including me in that comparison!)

And that’s one of the reasons why I feel I couldn’t bring a pet into my home because I just know I’d never be able to handle it when the inevitable happens. Though a friend of mine has a different take on it. She agrees that the sense of loss you feel when they pass away is unbearable, but she said nothing compares to the happiness they bring, and she went on to say that it’s not about the love you give them but the abundance of love they give you – which obviously set me off again! As for Judge, I hope that he is at peace now that he has been put to rest and that his suffering is over. I hope that his colleagues come to term with their loss and feel proud of themselves for giving Judge a truly magnificent send off and find comfort in their memories. And most of all, I hope that Doggy Heaven has given Judge the welcome he deserves. j2 Rest in peace Judge. Thank you for helping to make the world a better place. xx imagesCAHZOS9O

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Tara: A Seriously Cool Cat

 

Admittedly I have a weird relationship with animals. Never having grown up surrounded by pets at home for a number of reasons – OK, not entirely true, we got a tankful of fish a few years before I moved out – I am a little apprehensive about them. Then there are my million and one allergies which means sharing a home with a pet is unlikely. But I do think some of them are so cute. I absolutely adore the pets in the family (and think they might like me too!) but I do know that keeping animals at home is a big commitment – a lot like having children. They need a great deal of care, time and affection and it’s not a decision to be taken likely. After all a dog is for life and all that.

However, like most people worldwide, I have just witnessed the most adorable piece of CCTV kitty footage which has made me see having pets in a whole new light. I am of course talking about Tara, the latest feline online phenomenon, and  a cat superhero if ever there was one. It’s made me realise that perhaps no household is really complete without an adorable pet.

American couple, Roger and Erica Triantafilo’s tabby cat Tara, sprang into action when she saw her owners’ four year old son Jeremy, getting dragged off his bike and attacked by the neighbours’ dog as he played outside his home in Bakersfield, California.

Images recorded on three CCTV cameras witness Tara not only launching herself at the dog but also chasing him away from the house while Jeremy’s mother ran to tend to her injured son. For a little kitty, Tara seemed more ferocious than the dog.

 

 

The astounding footage was uploaded the next day and has gone viral with the world hailing this brave little cat a heroine. I wonder if Tara is aware of all the attention she has attracted and of her newfound celebrity status. In fact it was reported an hour ago that  minor league baseball team, Bakersfield Blaze, have invited Tara to throw the first pitch at their next home game! Go Tara!

The famous feline cannot be spoken of highly enough by her family. “Tara is my hero,” Jeremy simply stated, while his father explained, “She really did save him from further injury… I’ve never seen a cat do that. Especially ours. It just shows how much she really has a family-oriented mind set.” Roger Triantafilo also added that Tara will rightfully get fish for the rest of her life, “grilled any way she wants!”

What’s just as amazing is the way in which Tara became a member of the family which is a story in itself. She was a stray cat who had followed a courting Roger and Erica as they made their way home from the park after a date – before they got married. They made a deal that if she followed them all the way home, they would keep her. She did so they did! That was six years ago and she even bonded with Jeremy soon after he was born which explains why she is so protective of him.

The dog that attacked Jeremy, a Labrador-chow mix, has been quarantined and will soon be put down. Erica Triantafilo has stated that they do not feel any anger towards their neighbours and that she is thankful that her son’s injuries – for which the little boy had to get stitches – were not worse than what he sustained.

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But right now, the spotlight is well and truly on Tara who is the poster girl for cats everywhere. Not only does the whole world want to give her a cuddle and households everywhere want to adopt a kitty, but the fabulous feline has proved that there really is no such thing as a scaredy cat!

The most heart-warming story I’ve heard in a long time. Hope Jeremy makes a full recovery… and Tara gets her fish!

 

 

 

 

 

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