The police Department in Oviedo, Florida recently assembled an honor guard outside of a local veterinarian’s office as one of their own, 6 year old Nero, took his final walk. The German Shepherd was suffering from terminal cancer and had to be out to sleep. Not long after, his handler Officer David Capetillo and his wife, left the building holding his collar and leash.
I grew up with Boxers, so I have a special place in my heart for working dogs. Whether they are family pets or in the service of the police or military, these dogs are driven to perform their duties. They are fiercely loyal, task oriented and devoted to the point of death. Who wouldn’t be touched by the honorable send-off Nero so richly deserved? Well, I’ll tell you who…
While there were plenty of comments left online lauding the life of this brave police dog, a disturbing number of mean and distorted thoughts were added as well. Nasty commentary about police brutality, people who eat dogs and Westerners’ warped love for animals littered the web. All I could think was “I hope Mr. Capetillo didn’t read any of this garbage.”
What’s the matter with some people today? Does every incident, every event, every thought need to be linked to some controversy, minimized by some greater tragedy, or critically combed through for ulterior motives? Can’t an event like this just be seen and felt for what is..nothing more, and certainly nothing less? How can someone read a tender story of loyalty, respect, grief and love and interpret it as ugly proof of some human or moral failure?
I feel so sorry for Officer David Capetillo who lost his companion way too soon, but I feel even worse for those who at some point clearly lost all compassion for others.
Atta boy, Nero- rest in peace.