Tag: Human Animal Bond

“Officer Down!” Police Dog takes a bullet for his human comrades.

Jethro, a canine police officer who was shot in the line of dutyUPDATE: Sadly, Jethro took a turn for the worse and he succumbed to his injuries on January 10, 2016. He died a hero and saved the lives of his fellow human officers. Funds raised in his name will go towards making other canine officers safer as they perform their duties in our community. RIP Jethro.

In Canton, Ohio, we value our canine police officers as much as we do their human counterparts. Canton’s police dogs are local heroes, and they have more than earned that status.

As a city whose population is shrinking, Canton has urban crime rates that rival those of much bigger cities. Our safety forces are seriously underfunded and their numbers are truly inadequate for the needs, so canine officers are frequently called upon to intervene in very hazardous situations. This weekend, one of our canine heroes, Jethro, was struck down in the line of duty, and there are few dry eyes in Canton as a result.

Jethro was shot in the line of duty as he chased an armed burglar. The burglar unloaded a series of bullets intended for human officers and Jethro was struck as he chased the criminal down. He literally took the bullet for his human comrades. Despite being shot at least 3 times, Jethro survived, but he is not out of the woods yet. He is being monitored closely and being provided round the clock care at the Stark County Emergency Veterinary Clinic.

(Jethro’s human partner returned fire, as did other officers, and the burglar was wounded and apprehended.)

Most medium to large cities have canine officers, and they perform a critical service for our communities. These animals often go into situations where it is unsafe for human officers to go, and they can be placed in very risky situations. We need to ensure their protection as much as we possibly can, as they are extremely important to our communities’ safety. Many communities lack the resources to do that, though. Canton is one of them.

Although Canton has bullet proof vests for its canine officers, they are old and heavy, and they are rarely used. Jethro was not vested at the time of his shooting.

We now know that we need to improve our protection for our valued canine officers. We are sorry we didn’t do it before, Jethro, but we are doing it now. Local community leader and dog blogger Beth Philly of DOGGIES.COM has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to cover Jethro’s vet bills and to purchase new vests for all of Canton’s canine officers. If you would like to contribute, we would love to accept your donation.

Jethro’s story has touched a nerve in Canton, and it is spreading well beyond Canton’s city limits. When an animal is injured through an act of bravery, it brings us to our knees. Officers from Police Departments across the country have bent a knee and shared prayers and well wishes for Jethro. So have concerned citizens from all over the world. I am told that the parking lot of the Stark County Emergency Veterinary Clinic is full of emergency vehicles with officers standing vigil in the clinic’s lobby for Jethro.

The drug is not recommended to be taken with alcohol, which is quite logical, since although effect is increasing, so does the side effects, including headaches and also the rapid onset of addiction.

My art is dedicated to celebrating the human/animal bond, and never before have I witnessed such a story about that bond. I have decided to create a Premiere Pet Portrait Painting of Jethro to celebrate his bond with his community and his fellow officers. The portrait will be given to Officer Ryan Davis, Jethro’s handler, and his family, who considers Jethro a pet. The bond between Jethro and Officer Davis rises to dimensions beyond the traditional human-pet relationship, and the community’s love for Jethro takes on a whole new dimension. How could I resist the artistic challenge of creating this awesome creature’s portrait?

I will post again about Jethro’s story and the progress of his portrait. You can learn more about his entry into the Canton Police force here, and you can contribute to the GoFundMe campaign here. Follow the DOGGIES.COM blog for updates on his condition and medical progress.

Let’s all hope that Jethro has many adventures still left ahead of him.


Life is an Adventure!


Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Isis and Joan, Black Cat with woman in Hospice care
Isis and Joan

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” ~Alfred Lord Tennyson

We first met Joan through her mission to find a home for her beloved cat, Isis. Joan knew her life was coming to an end due to liver disease, and she wanted to make sure that Isis would be cared for after she left this world.

We knew when we first met Joan that we would lose her soon, but that didn’t matter. We wanted to give her the love of a lifetime in the short amount of time that she had left.

And that we did.

My good friend Dorian of Your Daily Cute first brought Joan and Isis to us through a plea for help on Facebook. Dorian had heard of Joan’s plight through an email from a rescue group who had been contacted by Joan. Joan was desperately looking for a home for Isis, as she had been forced to enter a hospice center for her own medical needs. Dorian jumped into action by alerting her expansive social network, and soon people from all over the world were sending love and help.

The first step was to find a temporary foster home for Isis, which happened relatively quickly. Then the search for a permanent home began. Eventually Isis did find a new home with a loving caregiver.

But the story did not end there.

We were all charmed by Joan and her sweet cat. Through a Facebook group, Dorian kept us updated on both Isis and Joan’s progress as she and other friends who lived near the hospice began to visit and develop a deep friendship with Joan. Isis visited as well, bringing great joy to this frail but spirited woman. Although many of us could not visit ourselves as we were too far away, we sent gifts and cards and messages of love to bring this woman the love she deserved.

"Isis" black cat digital pet portrait by BZTAT
“Isis” – digital pet portrait by BZTAT

My gift was this digital portrait of her sweet Isis, which I am told she kept by her bedside.

Dorian wrote about her experiences with Joan and Isis in this article for Catster. Many others shared the story on their blogs, and the national media picked up the story in numerous articles.

We all fell in love with Joan from afar, and we all hoped a miracle would happen so that we could keep our new found friend here on earth with us.

Sadly, the miracle we had hoped for did not happen. We lost Joan today. She left this world at 4:08 am with Dorian and and another friend holding her hands.

I have never met this woman in person, yet I am bereft with tears. We knew we would lose her, but no one wanted to. And now that we have, it hurts deeply.

Still yet, her final wish to find a home for her dear Isis was answered. And in the process, she found a worldwide family who loved and cared for her to the very end. We should all be so lucky. What more of a miracle does one need?

I have always believed Tennyson’s words to be true. Although loving someone, even through the virtual world, eventually hurts, it is certainly worth much, much more than what we give to it.

I know that I am a better person for having a connection to Joan and Isis and Dorian and everyone else who has joined Joan’s family. Thank you if you are among that family.

We often hear about how social media can bring out the worst in people – terrorism, cyber bullying, criminal flash mobs, etc. The stories where social media brings out the BEST in people maybe more silent and less headline grabbing. The story of Isis and Joan, though, proves to me that people are good, and they are loving, and they bring that out in social media in a much more profound way than the more negative aspects of humanity ever could.

Thank you Joan. Thank you Isis. Thank you Dorian. Thank you everyone else who has given and been a part of this human and feline drama. I love you all.

Whatever heaven is for you, Joan, I hope that it can bring you some of the peace and joy that you have brought to us. You have found the Rainbow Connection – someday the rest of us will find it too.



Life is an Adventure!


Want a portrait of your pet? Learn more here!

A Special Kind of Love

Tortoise Shell Cat Painting by BZTAT
“Slick” Painting by BZTAT

People who share their lives with pets are blessed with knowing a special kind of love. The love that we share with our pets is both deep and tender, and in some ways, it is unmatched by the kind of love we share with those of our own species.

The hardest part of the human animal relationship is that we usually outlive our pets.

The winding down time of a pet’s life is not something we look forward to – that time when you know she is ill, and there is not much time left, and you want to make the best of the time you have left. As hard as it is, though, we would not give up that last bit of time for anything in the world.

My cat Slick, whose illness I wrote about in April (The Greatest Cat in the World), is now in that winding down time. A trip to the vet yesterday and the blood work results today confirmed that her kidneys are shutting down. She is losing weight and stamina, although she is still eating and drinking. She’s hanging in there, but we know it is not forever now.

It could be days, or weeks or even months. She could bounce back a bit. But it is time to face reality.

Slick won’t be with me for too much longer.

I am very grateful to her and our Creator for giving us the eighteen years that we have had together, and I will cherish each and every remaining day.

Slick, you are my very special girl, and I will always hold you dear in my heart.