Recently, our hometown newspaper was gracious in printing an article that allowed more exposure towards K9 Rocky. Although the article focused on me, I tried to deflect attention towards Rocky as he is by far a much more interesting character. Many of my responses are an conglomeration of previous thoughts and statements which are a result of being continually in the spin cycle while stewing on the totality of Rocky’s impact in my life. The following is basically what I submitted to the paper for their review which they kindly found worthy to print. Many thanks to the Lakewood Sentinel.
–About me (where you grew up, went to school/college, hobbies, how long you lived in Lakewood, etc.) I moved to Colorado as a 2 year old and after high school, and with an extreme interest in working with animals, I went to college and studied beef cattle production. Post college, I ventured into the mountains to work on several cattle ranches and embraced the rural lifestyle. However, retirement plans were obsolete so I sought other employment and ended up becoming a Lakewood police officer. Although living and working in suburbia, the mountains still call out to me. Smelling pine trees, hearing bull elk bugle or being among a herd of mountain goats on top of a 14er is good for the soul.
–Meeting Rocky (How did you meet Rocky? What were your experiences together like?) Being a dog lover, I was naturally drawn towards the K9 assignment. Fortunately, Rocky entered my life and he was a gifted and talented student in the K9 academy and he quickly adapted to the street being successful in finding drugs, evidence and people. Our career was an emotional roller coaster ride where we shared some extreme incidents, including him being shot in the line of duty and still capturing the shooter, and our bond became so close that it was borderline eerie. Oftentimes we would simply stare into each others’ eyes and have a conversation without me having to say a word. Although Rocky was not my whole life, he made my life whole and I cherish our incredibly tight relationship.
–Sharing your story (Tell me what inspired you to write your book? What was that experience like? Where can people buy it if they want?) The day Rocky died in my arms, a piece of me died with him and I tumbled into a very, very dark place. A coworker encouraged me to write his story since it was the perfect blend of Marley & Me mixed with the TV show COPS. I scoffed since I was never an aspiring author. But, one gloomy day I began to write Rocky’s story which proved to be very cathartic and, in an unusual way, it allowed me to spend more time with him. Hundreds of pages later, a book was born and I began the agonizing process of publication. It literally took years, but his life was eventually captured in a paperback book as well as an ebook. This led to a FaceBook page, a website and a listing on Amazon.
–The bond we share (Tell me about the relationship between K9 and man. Why is it important for you to share this story with people?) Dogs and humans frequently share a unique bond and that relationship is usually magnified with a K9 team due to the exorbitant amount of time spent together and, for some, sharing critical incidents together. Rocky was an anomaly and I am the blessed human being who was partnered with greatness. During his career, Rocky earned some impressive awards and memorializing his life via a book became important because he is an once-in-a-lifetime animal that needs to be remembered. Having his book earn a few literary awards has been humbling, but more importantly, I hope readers finish the last page, close the back cover, and are able to say to themselves, “I am better for reading it.”