Hero Cop Would Rather Have a Pet Than a Partner

police dogEarl Campbell had been a police officer in Ocean Beach, Florida for years when he realized his partner, Charlie, was suffering, in chronic pain and unable to continue working. He alerted higher-ups, but was told Charlie couldn't retire or take time off until he jumped through several hoops.

Charlie couldn’t speak up for himself, because Charlie is a dog. A K-9 officer who’d been injured in the line of duty several years earlier. His injuries had slowly gotten worse, and his hind legs were barely working. Earl asked for help for his dog and says he encountered roadblock after roadblock.

So in the end, the Ocean Beach police department lost two good cops: one with fur, and one with – well, no fur.

Earl decided to quit the force -- and took his dog with him. Now they're both regular citizens -- a man and his dog, and they like it that way.

A lot of working animals become pets. Shouldn't it always be that way in the end?


It's obvious that, while every dog I've ever owned has been a total spaz, many dogs love working and are happiest when focused on a task. Still, even the bossiest shepherd gets old and tired and needs to rest with the people he's spent his life working for.

After fighting with his department to be allowed to take Charlie off the force, Campbell was so frustrated that he followed up Charlie's retirement with his own, emailing his resignation from the passenger seat of his car, after paying $1 to "buy" Charlie officially. He was done.

After $6,000 of spine surgery, paid for by Campbell, Charlie's now the family dog. Just like military dogs who, thanks to the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Adoption Program, can be adopted after a lifetime of service.

With the movie War Horse currently playing in theaters, working animals in perilous situations are on a lot of our minds. Whether or not they should be placed in danger for our sake is a question for another day; I think we can all agree that once they've done that, they should be given a loving home for their last few years.

Have you adopted a working dog? How did it work out? Was it a difficult transition?

Image via LydiaShiningBrightly/Flickr

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