One morning my friend Fella and I were splitting a banana split at Otie Campbell’s ice cream shop. One of the German Shepherd police dogs came in and walked up to me. “We caught Jax Jackson pooping in front of the police station again this morning, we arrested him,” he said, referring to one of our repeat offenders.
“I know,” I said after swallowing a scoop of bacon and kibble ice cream. “He came before me this morning. Jax promised never to do it again, and I let him go.”
The German Shepherd shook his head. “I don’t know why we arrest him if you are just going to let him go,” he said in a deep, angry voice.
Honestly, I didn’t know either; it seemed like a waste of time to me. “I just have to judge each case by the evidence provided,” I said. That is what they taught me in judge school to tell souls when I had no good reason why I reached a decision.
His partner, a lighter German Shepherd, came in and the first one told him I let Jax go. The other cop gave me a look that made my face turn red under my fur. “You know what I think?” the second cop asked.
I just kept eating my ice cream, not answering. “I think you should go on a ride along with us,” he said.
I was going to tell him it was a terrible idea when Fella said: “Wow, that sounds like fun, can I go?”
I wanted to tell Fella he couldn’t go when Otie barked “Can I go to?”
The cops agreed that all three of us could go before I said one of us would go. Now I was not only at the mercy of these cops but I was about to undertake dangerous work, and I am dainty girl built for reading poetry and drinking wine by a pond. This is what I get for hanging out with the boys at the ice cream shop.
They arranged for us to accompany them that night. The first fact about police work that I discovered is that there is no ride along since dogs don’t have cars. It was more like a run along. I was going to get tired. All because I refused to send that no good Jax Gallagher to the Bad Place. I was going to have to rethink my sentencing policy.
The policemen told us their names, Bunk, and Herc. At first, we just walked around, and all the dogs were very friendly to us saying how much they appreciated our service. It felt nice. I had a new respect for police dogs. Otie wanted to know if he could turn on the siren. Bunk told him to pull Herc’s tail, and when he did Herc’s eyes began flashing, his voice made a wailing sound, and we started to run like we were giving chase.
Suddenly Bunk yelled, “That’s Jax Gallagher, he is peeing on the statue of Liberace!” Bunk and Herc began running faster, weaving in and out of the walking dogs. Otie, Fella and I must have been caught up in their force field because we involuntarily swerved back and forth like we were in their back seat. Then the German Shepherds slammed on the brakes, and our heads rammed into their butts.
Sure enough, Jax Gallagher had peed on the Liberace statue leaving the biggest mystery of the night is why there was a statue of the sequined piano player at the Bridge? Herc and Bunk cornered Jax who was growling at them that they would never take him alive. Bunk used the police dog’s best friend. The clicker. A few clicks and Jax, a previously well-trained dog, had sat and rolled over into a submissive position.
I asked the police officer to let me deal with Jax immediately. Bunk made me promise I would no longer allow Jax to be a nuisance. Odie opened up the ice cream shop so Jax and I could speak privately.
I decided I was not going to send him to the Bad Place. I determined that Jax was suffering from separation anxiety. He missed his mom and was acting out. He needed someone to care for him until she arrived. I contacted the fantastic Michelle Kenney who came to the ice cream shop. Jax was immediately taken with her. I said he could live with Michelle as long as he never left the grounds. Jax agreed. I told him if he broke this agreement I would have to send him to the Bad Place.
I don’t think I would. But I had to work with the police dogs too. Being a judge can be hard. But you always have to keep in mind that sometimes all a bad dog needs is a mom.