column was published in the North
Shore News on
April 5, 2000)
needs happy ending
By Leo Knight
say that being a police officer is a frustrating endeavour is an
at the sharp end of a legal system that continually seems to
fail in its essential duty to protect the citizens of our fair
country makes the frustration inevitable.
sometimes the job can be rewarding, not just for a big arrest,
or the successful conclusion of a lengthy and complicated
investigation, but for the little things.
take a look at something that happened in early January on the
west side of Vancouver.
the words of Snoopy, "It was a dark and stormy night."
officers were called to a typical "youths annoying"
complaint on the grounds of Van Horne elementary. The youths in
question had departed, typically, before the police could arrive
and give them a stern finger wagging. Which is just about the
most they can do in this day and age. But I digress.
the course of looking around for the ne'er-do-wells, one of the
officers came across a very wet, very scared and very pregnant
German shepherd. The dog was shaking like a leaf and appeared to
be frightened of the officer.
finally getting near enough to the soon-to-be mum, the officer
was able to see that she was well-fed, had a collar but no tags,
and had a well-kept coat. In other words, she appeared to have
wandered from her owner and wasn't a stray.
he called the pound and had her taken to more suitable environs
while they tried to find an owner.
this might have been the end of the story had the dog's master
been more concerned and humane. But, apparently, that individual
didn't care a whit and they soon came to the realization that no
owner would be calling for the dog.
most cases this would have spelled the demise of the dog, a fine
looking shepherd in the prime of her life. But not these days in
Vancouver. The pound, you see, has a "no destruction"
policy and seeks alternative solutions to euthanizing the dogs.
placed the dog with a family in Langley who promised to foster
it and the soon to be born pups until suitable homes could be
found for all.
Jan. 22, the dog, by now named "Emma" by her foster
mum, gave birth to six pups -- four males and two females. All
are bright, chipper, healthy and, by all accounts, cute as a
then began the instinctive process of nurturing her off-spring.
A couple of weeks later, a poster with pictures showed up at
Vancouver Police Headquarters at 2120 Cambie, looking for homes
for Emma and the pups.
police officer who found Emma, a grizzled veteran of more than
25 years of policing the mean streets, kept in touch with the
foster family. To date, all but two of the pups have been
adopted and Emma has recovered well from her ordeal.
in the same week that the Vancouver Police found Emma, they had
to deal with another dog incident in the same part of the city
that did not have such a happy ending.
a mature pit bull terrier, somehow managed to get free and bit a
small child in the head, causing some very frightening injuries.
was restrained and brought to the same pound. But because of his
aggressive nature, the police sought an order to have him
destroyed. The owner of the dog finally agreed not to oppose the
destruction order and Cassius was put down.
I should say that Cassius was not, by nature, a vicious dog.
Somehow being chained up all the time by a testosterone-laden
owner led to the aggressive behaviour.
the owner of a beautiful, well-trained, even tempered shepherd
myself, it's hard to conceive how anyone could turn their back
on a dog like Emma or permanently chain up a dog like Cassius.
Containing is one thing, but chaining, in that manner, is abuse.
for Emma, she was found by a caring police officer who went well
beyond the call of duty to help a beautiful dog in distress.
Equally fortunate for her, the Vancouver pound has decided to
find humane alternative methods of dealing with animals coming
to their care. The fostering program and those who volunteer are
to be commended.
for Emma, the police officer who found her would love to keep
her, but he already has a jealous rottweiler.
anyone reading this would like to provide a home for a pretty
terrific, well-tempered German shepherd or one of the two
remaining pups, please e-mail me and I'll put you in touch with
the foster family.
stories do need a happy ending after all.