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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

One Last Walk of Honour

A 9-year-old German Shepherd named Judge received the ultimate tribute before being euthanized last Friday. Biting down on his favorite toy, Judge took his last walk with his owner and former partner, Cpl. Mike Franks, down a police salute line in Woolwich, NJ. Before being diagnosed with Cushings Disease and retiring as a police dog, Judge aided in the arrest of 152 people, the removal of handguns from the street, drug seizes, and helped police confiscate $47,000 in cash.

There's plenty of backlash from the public when it comes to euthanasia or PTS. Some see it as a way to end the suffering of their beloved pets, while others see it as a cruel way of taking a life. Make your own judgement out of this:

With more than 20 West Deptford police officers looking on, joined by at least 70 others representing departments from across South Jersey, Cpl. Michael Franks on Friday took his last walk with his partner and beloved pet, retired K-9 Judge, into St. Francis Veterinary Center.

After watching his former partner battle Cushings Disease for months, experiencing symptoms like vomiting, bleeding and hair loss -- and witnessing the former K-9 officer struggle to even move over the past few days -- Franks and his family made the heartbreaking decision to put Judge down.

"Judge had gone under surgery, and was taking medication for the disease, but it quickly deteriorated, unfortunately," said West Deptford Deputy Chief Sean McKenna, standing in the reception area of the Woolwich animal hospital, surrounded by fellow officers, all waiting somberly as Franks and Judge spent their last moments together in one of the patient rooms.

"The doctors gave him several months to live," he added. "He hasn't been up in a few days. However, today, Franks gave Judge his last bite."

That "last bite" saw Franks donning the K-9 department's protective arm sleeve, and, just as in training, allowing Judge to latch his jaws onto it one final time.

Judge was still holding the sleeve in his mouth as he and Franks walked into the hospital.

"It's about showing respect, but also the people who are here wanted to thank Judge for his service to the community," said Glassboro Sgt. Dan Eliasen, who supervises his department's K-9 division. "No one has forgotten what he's done -- and that includes protecting his partner and his community."

The West Deptford community in November came to the aid of Judge and Franks, donating more than $12,000 in less than two days toward the 9-year-old German Shepherd's veterinary bills. At that time, they had racked up more than $10,000 in veterinary bills -- nearly all of which the family had to pay for out of pocket -- after doctors diagnosed Judge with Cushings Disease.

I also saw this moving poem posted online as a tribute to this exceptional hero. RIP Judge..

The Last Battle

If it should be that I grow frail and weak 
And pain should keep me from my sleep, 
Then will you do what must be done, 
For this, the last battle, can't be won. 
You will be sad I understand, 
But don't let grief then stay your hand, 
For on this day, more than the rest, 
Your love and friendship must stand the test. 
We have had so many happy years, 
You wouldn't want me to suffer so. 
When the time comes, please, let me go. 
Take me to where to my needs they'll tend, 
Only, stay with me till the end 
And hold me firm and speak to me 
Until my eyes no longer see. 
I know in time you will agree 
It is a kindness you do to me. 
Although my tail its last has waved, 
From pain and suffering I have been saved. 
Don't grieve that it must be you 
Who has to decide this thing to do; 
We've been so close, we two, these years, 
Don't let your heart hold any tears. 


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