Anonymous and K9 Nugget
I worked for a large department for 26 years. I started working with our department when I was 18, as an intern that was a program ran through the city. I was granted the internship and started after high school. At the end of that summer, I was encouraged to apply for a Community Service Officer position. I applied and was soon after hired, and started community college for a Law Enforcement degree.
At the age of 18, while working as a CSO, I would routinely do ride alongs when I had finished my work. One morning, I went to a double homicide with another officer. On this call, the husband had come into the home and shot and killed his wife, then himself. The wife had been trying to leave the relationship. Their small toddler was on the mattress with his mother when she was shot in the head, and killed. I never forgot that day, the way I felt, the smell in the air when I walked outside. I remember the officer I was riding along with telling me if I wanted to be a cop, I needed to go in the house. Something happened to me that day, something in me knew that I would put that memory in a different part of me, somewhere where I wouldn’t feel things, or tell people. Kind of like my secret file. I later found out that I knew the older daughter of the couple from the homicide. I grew up in the city I worked for so I knew many people we encountered. In the future I had many run ins with people I knew or had grown up with.
After graduating from the academy I started my FTO program. During this time I was involved in a high speed chase that ended in an officer involved shooting. The suspect had been trying to lure kids in his vehicle on numerous occasions and we had finally found him. At the end of the chase, officers pinned the suspect in and he started hitting cops with his vehicle. Another night to add to my file. I worked patrol on the night shift and a few other assignments, including being a member of SWAT Technical team. Over those next 22 years as a sworn officer I experienced many, many more situations where those feelings, thoughts, visions were put into my secret file, over the years I became a person who didn’t know how to feel, to this day I am still not in touch with my emotions whatsoever.
My partner and I were involved in a in-custody death, after that I started having anxiety, which I had no idea what it even was. My “file” was full, It later turned to having panic attacks as I was driving to work. I’ll never forget the first time it happened, I got to work and told my coworker I thought I had a heart attack. He told me he thought it was a panic attack, surely that couldn’t have been true and if it was I would never repeat it. After I had a few more, I finally went to the doctor where I had a breakdown and they put me on an antidepressant.
The drugs helped, but I’d be damned if I would have ever told anyone that I was taking them. I was now relying on a pill that I took in secret so that I felt like I could breathe again. A secret pill for my secret file. At no point did I ever really realize that all my ” files” were causing my issues. Even if I did, I wouldn’t have talked about them, cops didn’t do that.
Fast forward to 2019 when my boyfriend and I got a puppy. I had grown up with dogs, I was always a dog lover but I was single, never married and had traveled a ton so a dog wasn’t in the cards until 2019. My boyfriend and I would take turns bringing her to work when she was a puppy. I would bring her in on Friday’s, I worked in investigations so it was a good spot for her to come and chill for the day. We couldn’t handle hearing her cry in her kennel the first night, so I slept with her on the couch. As soon as she was up, we were outside to potty train. I do not have kids, she is my real life fur baby.
The first time I brought her into work I couldn’t believe the response she was getting from all my coworkers. They loved her, she made them feel the way she made me feel, happy. I remember trying to talk our boss into getting a station dog, as it would be so healing for the patrol officers. I thought if they had a bad call it would feel so good to come back to the station and just pet that dog.
When we got our dog I experienced something I had never felt. I have such an absolutely incredible bond with her. I trust her and she trusts me. She knows me, we have routines together, she knows when I go out of town I’m coming back.
I left the department unexpectedly in 2021 on a medical for PTSD. The decision to leave was hard,I had had 3 surgeries related to the job and I was realizing what the emotional impact was doing to me as well as what physically had already been done. Once I made the decision, going through the process of taking a disability was almost as hard as going through the events themselves. Reliving all my “ files” was a nightmare.
During that process, I had my dog by my side, she just knew I needed her. When I had my first appointments with my therapist she would come in the room and just sit by my leg for the entirety of the appointment. I thank God often for bringing us together.
When I heard about Soldier 6, I started thinking that I’d really like to train my dog. I feel that it would help me to heal if I could share what she has to offer with others. I would love to bring her to hospitals or nursing homes. She has so much to give and if I can share that with others than a part of me may feel like I’m giving back for what she’s done for me.