On Dogs and Death…
As I write this, a very special and somewhat unique funeral service is taking place in the City of Pittsburgh.
On January 28, K-9 Rocco was stabbed in the course of pursuing a fugitive while in service as a police dog with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. On the evening of January 30, after two days of impassioned pleas for blood donors and attempted emergency surgeries, Rocco succumbed to his injuries.
Pittsburgh is a passionate city. A city that rallies around its sports teams, its local culture, and most importantly around its neighbors during times of crisis and need. And so it did not surprise me in the least that Pittsburghers both near and far would be so moved by the sacrifice of a dog whose death may have helped save his human partner’s life. In the words of Mayor Bill Peduto, “Pittsburgh showed its soul that night, a soul that shines with compassion and recognizes the good not only in every human, but in every being.”
This morning, Rocco is receiving a full police honors in a line of duty funeral. Dozens of police K-9’s and their handlers have descended on Pittsburgh to pay their respects, and many more police officers and community members are participating as well.
As someone who has a special fondness and respect for members of the emergency services, as well as for dogs, I’m left trying to sort out how I feel about this. For many people, myself included, our pets are considered a part of the family; the bond between a police officer and his or her working dog is even stronger. By no means am I saying that I think having a funeral for an animal is inappropriate, but I’m curious how others feel about this particular incident and the loss of pets in general.
If you’re willing to, please share some of your thoughts in the comments area below. I’m interested to hear how my friends and colleagues feel.
If you feel like you’d like to read up on the incident a bit more, here’s one of the many articles available from nearly every Pittsburgh media source: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5547197-74/rocco-dogs-pittsburgh#ixzz2seXKj5XE