Pet's death impacts many

Callaway, the Labrador retriever shot by Westlake police investigating a burglar alarm at the home of Steven Cooke

Over the past couple weeks, the media covered a regrettable incident that took place in Westlake. It involved an on-duty police officer and resulted in the death of a family dog. On March 6, a Westlake officer responded to a home security system alarm, and fatally shot Callaway, an eight-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. The patrolman maintains that he was threatened by the charging dog and fired his weapon in defense. 

I am deeply saddened by this family's loss and suffering. I have provided this family's professional pet services for many years, and enjoyed a special bond with Callaway. If I could speak to Callaway, I would say:

“If I could bring you back, I would in a heartbeat, but I can't. I am so sorry that you are no longer with us, but I can say for sure that you are with some other angels that are loved and missed each day. Your life and story have touched so many people.

“You brought out the best and, sadly, at the end, the worst from people. Hundreds of area pet-lovers and citizens joined together at Westlake City Hall, in your honor and memory. However, misinformation, half-truths, spins, and speculation have attempted to diminish you, your family and animal advocates.

“I will gladly defend you as you may have defended your home, and will hold you close to my heart as your own family continues to do.

“Allow me the honor to speak for you, Callaway. I feel it is time to move ahead, to learn from this heart-rending and confusing experience. We need time to heal, to speak truthfully, to ensure that no other family has to experience this type of painful loss.

“As we move forward in our lives and discuss changes to our communities, let's make sure we are all on the same page: integrity, transparency, continuing education along with truthful and effective communication. Let's raise a paw of awareness for all.

“Thank you, Callaway, for touching so many lives. Just as your family trained you well to sit, come, shake and stay, you certainly have touched my life and I have learned from you that everyday is a gift, and every gift is a blessing.”

Nancy Brown lives in Bay Village.

Read More on Pet Care
Volume 2, Issue 6, Posted 5:51 PM, 03.16.2010