I’ll never forget the day I first saw Rex. I was called into the chief’s office, where, without so much as a word, he handed me Rex’s leash. He then informed me of the training I would have to go through to ensure that Rex would obey my every word. For the next few months, Rex and I worked to learn everything we could about the job that lay ahead of us. Every night, I would take Rex to my, no our house. As soon as we walked in the door, he would change. One minute he would be tough and strong, the next, he was like a puppy, rolling on the floor, his tail wagging wildly. I would sit in my chair, and he would stand next to it, and lick my face until I had to push him away to stop him. The first time I saw this, it was astounding. The instructor had said that the dogs were extremely social when not on duty, but I never thought it would be so dramatic! Despite his puppy-like behavior, as soon as we headed to work, he put the armor back on, and it took me days to convince my co-workers that Rex was a gentle giant. It wasn’t until about three months of being on the force with Rex that we got our first assignment together. It was fairly routine; we just had to check some suspects for drugs. It was routine at least, until one of the suspects decided to run. Rex was on him before he had even run ten feet. With a single word from me, Rex let go of the runner, but remained standing over him, growling menacingly. While the other officers quickly cuffed the culprit, I congratulated Rex, petting and patting him wildly. His tongue lolled out, panting, as his tail wagged wildly, but I couldn’t help but notice that he was still watching the culprit in the corner of his eye. That night, Rex was even more a puppy than before, prancing around the house, grinning happily. It was clear that he had known what he had done, and his arrogance was showing through for once. I sat in my chair, watching him prance around, when he suddenly stopped, and ran to the door, growling. A little confused, I walked over to the door, and peered out the window. There was nothing there. “Calm down, Rex.” I said, patting him on the head. He stopped growling, but he would not leave his post by the door for an hour. That was the connection we shared. Day after day we spent going on various assignments, but never anything too dangerous. That is, until the day DJ Hopkins escaped. As I am sure everyone knows, DJ Hopkins was, and still is, a horrible man. He murdered his ex-wife, her boyfriend, and their three month old baby! He was on his way to a maximum security prison, when the truck broke down, and he escaped. So, they need the best dog on the force, Rex, to track him down. When we arrived, the officer in charge handed me a shoe of DJ’s. “Can’t you give it to Rex?” I asked. The officer laughed nervously, and hurried away. I smiled, amused that there were still people on the force terrified of Rex. I showed Rex the shoe. “Get the scent, boy!” I said happily. He sniffed it, and then went rigid. “He’s got the scent!” I called. Once the message reached everyone, the order to release Rex came ringing through the air. I ordered Rex to find, and away we went. Rex moved quickly, with me being dragged behind him, my gun in my other hand. We moved quickly, but Rex didn’t break out into a run, because he knew that I was still there. Then, we found DJ. He was sitting by a tree, and I immediately pointed my gun at him. He raised his hands into the air, slowly rising to his feet. I waited for the other officers to come, and then I removed Rex’s leash just in case. “Stay.” I said as Rex began to inch forward. The other officers were moving towards him to arrest him, when suddenly, he ran as fast as he could. Rex looked up at me, and I nodded. Rex took off like a furry bullet, and DJ was down. We began to go to Rex when suddenly the worst noise I could ever hear filled my ears. A gunshot. With a yelp, Rex fell over. Without a single thought towards my safety, I burst out running. DJ tried to get up, but it was too late. I had knocked the gun out of his hand, and had my gun to his throat before he could even think. I was panting wildly, and I am sure to this day that that image haunts him. Finally, the other officers came and arrested DJ, and I was moved to my poor, poor Rex. His eyes were partially closed, but he was breathing. I searched his body, and found the bullet hole, blood slowly pouring out of it. I gently picked up Rex and took him to my car. Without a word to anyone, I sped to the nearest animal hospital. The next three hours passed slowly as the doctors did all they could to remove the bullet. Finally, after three days of surgery, they had fixed Rex’s lung, and he was healed. He never was the same dog. The injury to his lung was too great, so he couldn’t run anymore. I tried to continue to work, but I just couldn’t stay focused. Finally, it was decided that I was unfit to serve, and they honorably discharged me from the force, kindly giving me more than enough money for me and Rex. Rex never was the same. It was more than injury. He missed work.
Three months later, I was awakened in the middle of the night by Rex whining and yelping. I ran to him to find him seizing. I tried to calm him down, but nothing worked. Even when I called the vet to come, she couldn’t do anything. As dawn rose, I was alone in the world, no Rex by my side. He was given a full burial as though he was an officer killed in duty, and I still have everything of his. They say that the greatest loss you can experience as an officer is that of a partner, but I never knew it would hurt like this. Even today, almost three years since that horrible day, I feel empty without my dear Rex. Rex and I….. we were a team. I would give him the affection he needed to stay a dog, and he gave me companionship and protection, even when it seemed there was nothing there. Rex was more than a dog, Rex was, and is, my best friend.