Einstein : Not everything that can be counted counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

90 Minutes

I hear the phone ringing, I wait for an answer. My mouth is dry and I don't want to speak. I can't remember dialling the number. Eventually it is answered just as I am about to hang up and delay the inevitable. My misplaced human sentiment rises to the surface again. I try to talk and explain who I am, what the problem is. The voice on the other end is calm, politely reassuring and knows how I feel. They have seen and heard this a hundred times. I get my time and the count down begins.

90 minutes is an awful long time.

The journey is only a fraction of that. 90 minutes is about as long as a football match. No time at all if your side is 3-0 up but an eternity of torment if your side is 3-0 down.

My 90 minutes of torment has begun.
Every second seems like a minute, seems like an hour, a day, a week.

My friend is not well. He is very not well.

We have seen lots of things together.
We have done lots of things together.
He has saved me from many things and ensured I
returned home. I owe him a lot.

Now I must take him for his last journey.

I cannot explain how such relatively short and slow journey turns out to be such a blur.

I enter the place that has made my friend better on several occasions but that will now stop his suffering because they cannot make him better any more.

They know. They take me to a small room when I walk in and close the door.
They are sympathetic. They care about what they do.

It doesn't take long but it seems to take forever.
My friend is gone. I'm going to miss him, a lot.

90 minutes was an awfully long time.

153 comments:

Dave the Dog said...

Not a Police Dog Handler, but work with them regularly. Ex Army RAVC, been there many times and it never got any easier. I remember them all with affection, deepest respect and grateful thanks. My sympathy.

Custard Skipper said...

My complete sympathy mate, as a copper I know how much you and your partner are one. As a dog owner I know the bonds that are there. The whole family is thinking of you & yours.

Anonymous said...

I want to say much, but the words are difficult to express as well as your good self.

Short version: my deepest sympathies and thank you, to you both, for what you do for us.

Metcountymounty said...

that sucks, may his courageous landshark soul jump straight into another pup who grows up to fight the good fight again. It sucked for ages when my dog died a few years ago and it still sucks, just not as much. At least you've got some cracking stories and memories of him which will help you with your next team mate if you take one on. take care.

Officer Dibble said...

Cant really think of anything that hasnt been said above.
Been there ..hated it.
Take care fella..

dickiebo said...

Going to work without your partner! Can't get much worse. Sorry, mate.

Twining said...

Hello, I can add comments and am back!

Sergeant Simon said...

Heartfelt sympathy. Can remember bawling when we had our family dog put down a few years back. I weren't no big tough cop at that moment in time! The only consolation is that now you get to go on a new journey with a new bundle of fur and teeth.

Twining said...

Be safe which end bites. Be safe...

Paddy said...

Thanks for doing what you do and sharing what you've done. Sincerest condolences.

chunkybetty said...

Deepest sympathies

The elegance and sincerity of the writing is as a tribute, showing the strong connection built by the times you have saved each other, and got each other home.

dunploddin (Highland) said...

Can't really find any more words to add to the sentiments already expressed above - everybody has already said what I wanted to say - but felt I had to leave you a wee message to say we are thinking of you in your loss.
Remember the good times, and the difference he made!

Mousie said...

I'm gutted for you. That's so, so hard.

Take care,
Mousie x

Gimlet said...

Thinking of you. Dreading the moment it happens to me. Take care.

BelfastPeeler said...

Oof! One of the worst parts of what you do I imagine. I can't conceive of what its like to lose a partner like this, my sympathies.

PC South West said...

Sorry friend, really sorry.

Annette said...

I am so sorry.

Thinking of you.

xxx

Area Trace No Search said...

Yet another reason I don't think I could do your job... Thoughts and prayers with you now.

I don't mean to be insensitive, but what happens to your him now? Does he get a service funeral? Not taking the piss, police dogs bloody should, they give more of their lives to the job than any of us do.

Area

Neil Hampshire Dog Support said...

Mate just remember that look he gave you when you went to the kennel in the morning. Remember the look he gave you when together you had cleared the streets of drunken idiots. Only the few of us can truly understand what the bond between handler and dog is all about. He would risk it all for people, for the sake of a bowl of food, and your unending trust and respect. Take Care teach the new one all that the old one taught you.

The Phantom Policeman said...

Sorry fella. Everything else has already been said. Ditto x2.

Gazza said...

Semper Fidelis.
Nuff said.
Take care.
Gaz

Inspector Gadget said...

Bad news, told well. Rest his soul.

Kendl said...

So sorry.

Anonymous said...

Retired from dog section many years now, but I understand your pain.

May your best friend rest in peace.

Falco said...

Someone once said to me: "The grief never goes away. It just gets softer."

Big Fella in Blue said...

RIP comrade, I have had a 'land shark' and handler come to my aid on a few occasions and you can see such a strong bond. I cant say that I understand fully as I have never walked in your shoes but Im sure the feeling was mutual between you - the respect, friendship and love.
Put it all back into the next dog, you wont forget the last and I hope the pain eases soon.

Sergeant Simon said...

Hows it going now?

53.9N said...

Sorry for you WEB.

Mr Mans Wife said...

It's never easy to lose any kind of friend. Take your time x

PT COP said...

Still miss our family pet so so much.

Chin up mate

justacop said...

A touching tribute that says it all.

Hank said...

Thank you for the beautiful tribute and honoring your canine friend.

I recently lost my beautiful baby girl terrier, Arizona, and I know your pain.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=rzyi&page_id=62545&v=d

Sincerely,
Hank
Greenville, SC

Sarah said...

Inspector Gadget sent me over to say:-

How are you doing?

People care, and we're sorry for your grief...

x

Anonymous said...

Words are so inadequate at a time like this, beloved animals transcend all words and become part of us. Thinking of you both.

Lucy

Anonymous said...

5 years since I lost mine, and I'm sitting here crying now, because I remember how you feel. But most days I remember the good times with him, and you'll get there eventually too. Cheers mate.

Vicola said...

I've never worked with dogs but I've been a dog owner for years and I know how heartbreaking it is to take them there, knowing what's coming and say goodbye. Made so much harder by the fact that they follow you there happily because they trust you to do the right thing and all you can hope is that they understand you're doing this so they aren't in pain any more. It's awful and I really feel for you. PLease write again soon and let us know how you're doing.

Anonymous said...

Hope you are bearing up.
Deborah

RandomPinkness said...

Both of my dogs died this year, they were 'just' family pets, but they grew up with me and were my only friends whenever we moved into a new town, which we did a fair bit. In a way I'm thankful that I was away at university both times, it meant it was all very distant from me, I can just pretend they're still at home playing in the back garden or trying to herd the cats like they always used to. The thing to remember is there was no pain and he had a happy life. Hope you are feeling better now, Gadget's getting worried and everything ;)

Dr Dan H. said...

You definitely have my sympathies there, sir. Recently I had to have our family dog put down; she was 16 and old age plus an assortment of illnesses had finally caught up.

The problem was, she was a Jack Russell and dogs like this do not go gently into that good night; they're strong little animals with strong hearts and they don't just fade away. So, that final trip to the vet was the only way.

I ended up holding said dog, stroking her to try distract her as she went (not altogether successfully; weak as she was she still managed to try a snap at the vet), and I feel the loss even now. The only real comfort is that she was definitely at the end of the road and left to her own devices the end would not have been painless at all.

Better to go quietly, painlessly, with friends than to suffer on the way out.

Whatapalava said...

Lost my best mate a month ago, was the worst thing I have ever had to do. Found myself filling up just reading this. Thankfully it does get better over time but you never forget them.

Voice on the Radio said...

We feel for you, its terrible losing a pet but even worse when its your partner.

You both did a tremendous job and he will be sadly missed.

He is now playing on "rainbow bridge" with all the other loved pets but never forget his masters voice.

Good luck and stay strong, but remember its all right to cry.

uphilldowndale said...

I thought taking the family dog on its last trip to the V.E.T.s was a tough call, but this is something else.

Gazza said...

“I will give thee a dog which I got in Ireland. He is huge of limb, and for a follower equal to an able man. Moreover, he hath a man’s wit and will bark at thine enemies but never at thy friends. And he will see by each man’s face whether he be ill or well disposed to thee. And he will lay down his life for thee” (From the Icelandic Sage of Nial)

Anonymous said...

Police officer for 14 yrs. 6 years ago got a 'failure' police dog for my parents. ( Not aggressive enough......the dog, not my parents!) Jake, white GSD, huge, boneheaded, soft, agressive when requires. Guarded my baby boys when they were born with ferocity. He would sit and stare at them, or sleep. One eye open. Listening.
Last December a tumour was discovered and he had to be put down. I took my parents to the vet, not trusting them to make the journey home without ten ton of Jake bounding around the car. My parents were broken. My 77 yr old father, the strongest man I know, a wreck.
It gets easier, slowly, trust me. The 'its only a dog' brigade really do not know what they are missing out on.
Whichendbites.....you were his hero.
Someone told me that an Indian story tells that we all go to heaven, but when we get there, there is a bridge, and before we can cross we have to be judged by every animal we have encountered in our lives.
When your day comes, he will be at your bridge, and he will deem you more than fit to cross.
Benj

ShinyNewJP said...

Whichend - Inspector Gadget sent me here too to pass on my best wishes. It doesn't matter whether you're a dog person or not (and I'm not) there is a sense of grief and loss which we all understand, caused by having to take a loved animal on that last trip. You can only take comfort in having done the right thing.

Roses said...

Inspector Gadget pointed me in your direction as well.

So sorry to hear of the loss of your partner.

cogidubnus said...

Gadget sent me too...I'm just another MOP but I too have nearly all my adult life been surrounded by dogs, cats, you name it...

All my animals, dogs in particular, I've gone that last yard with...it's broken my heart but I've owed it to them...

Yet none of them was my partner as yours was and I respect the difference. My thoughts are with you...

But fresh, the world needs you and people like you...please do come back

ecparamedic said...

Glad to have found your blog via Gadget, sorry it had to be at a crap time like this.

SD

Tom Reynolds said...

All I can say is that I'm sorry.

kingmagic said...

Popped over from I.G.s blog to say sorry for your loss.

It will get easier with time...

Kim said...

Sorry for your loss, know the feeling sadly. hope your ok

Anonymous said...

Sorry for your loss.. take good care

David Precious said...

I came here via Random Acts of Reality, and just wanted to leave a comment to say my sympathy is with you at this horrible time. Alas, I can think of nothing more to say than that.

unlikely cop said...

Sympathy mate.

claire said...

I'm so sorry. Lost a good friend too in spring. Take care.

Aled said...

Can't tell you how sorry I am. I'm Mountain Rescue and have spent a few years around the SARDA search dogs - even considered getting one myself. At times like this, I don't think I have the strength to do so.

-Aled. CBMRT.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, and for your amazing writing skills. Been wiping tears since I started reading, and ran over to my beloved dog afterwards. Thank you.

DBA Dude said...

IG sent me over, sorry for your loss.

Come back to us all when you are ready.

Paddy said...

How are things now WEB? Hope you've been able to keep busy. Keep safe.

Donna said...

So sorry for your loss...

ChemicalBrother said...

Found my way here via Inspector Gadget - I've sat here and bawled for you (grown man too!)

He was your best friend and confidante - don't ever lose sight of that.
I'm so sorry for your loss and I feel your pain.

State 11 for now.

Minty said...

So sorry for your loss. It's the last, unselfish, act of love for our animal freinds that is so hard to do.
It hurts- I know all too well.

Anonymous said...

Inspector Gadget told me I'd find you here. Sorry you have lost your friend, life is cruel, but WEB is in a much happier place now and is sure to be looking down wanting you to get pick up where you left off.

Lin said...

I know how hard it is to lose a pal like WEB. I lost my shepherd when she reached 18 - a very long time for her to fight cancer and kidney failure just to stay with me. I guess we just can't keep up the fight forever, as hard as we might try. I believe a part of my heart died with her but a long time passing has healed some of the ache and it will for you, too.

Anonymous said...

I feel for you.

I had my 11 year old P.D. put to sleep recently and bawled for hours. What helped me was remembering the times we played and the funny moments.

Stay well.

Martin

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You both did a tremendous job and he will be sadly missed.

He is now playing on "rainbow bridge" with all the other loved pets but never forget his masters voice.

Good luck and stay strong, but remember its all right to cry.

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Sincerely,
Hank
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