Tribute to Chase
It is with the deepest grief that I share the sad news that my sweet, 13-year-old Bloodhound Chase was laid to rest. Chase was euthanized wearing her blue UCSC Police vest along with her favorite squeaky toy and -- like her previous K9 partners, Rachel and A.J.-- a piece of cheese and stem of broccoli. A portion of Chase's ashes will be spread in Hollister, California this summer along the route of her most notable and very first lost dog find-the recovery of a severely injured Airedale named George.
I still remember the first time I laid eyes on my little red puppy. This was back in 1994 when I flew back to Grantsville, Maryland to attend a National Police Bloodhound Association training event. My friend, Maryland State Trooper Doug Lowry, had a litter of puppies and had picked Chase out for me. I started training Chase to track people right away, intending to use her as my S.W.A.T. dog to track dangerous criminals. Chase did work an attempted child abduction case in Watsonville, California before my medical retirement from police work. But a year later, when I realized that I would never work my Bloodhounds in law enforcement again because of my medical retirement, I put Chase to work tracking missing dogs. From that point on, Chase's search history included mostly searches for missing dogs. A few of her cases are featured in my memoirs, The Lost Pet Chronicles, but most of her searches for lost dogs (which took place in Fresno) are featured in Chapter 14 of my book, Dog Detectives: Train Your Dog to Find Lost Pets.
Chase had a strong curiosity when it came to scent. She always worked with her nose planted to the ground, as evidenced in the photo on my homepage where even as a puppy Chase ran with her nose stuck on the ground, inhaling scent particles. She also would immediately smell any object that anyone touched in the backyard, having to thoroughly investigate any scent change in her environment. This included a meticulous investigation of my clothing whenever I spent time around new dogs.
Losing Chase has been extremely difficult and I've been trying to figure out why this grief has been so much stronger than when I lost Rachel and A.J. At first, I assumed it was because I put her down just three days before my move from Fresno to Seattle-a time when I'm saying good-bye to friends, family, and a dog that I deeply loved. Then I thought perhaps it was because it has been four years since I euthanized A.J. and maybe I forgot what it was like to go through this. But I finally recognized two reasons why losing Chase feels like I am losing a piece of my heart.
First, Chase and I held a deep love for each other that I didn't exactly experience with Rachel and A.J. You see, Rachel loved everyone, including me. And A.J. was aloof and just didn't show a deep bond with me. But to Chase, I was the apple of her eye. Chase loved only two people in her lifetime-Doug Lowry who raised her until she was four months old, and me. Chase would look around frantically until she found me, and then you could see her relax, as if she knew her life was good because I was in her world. I think that when I lost Rachel, my grief was over the sadness of losing my best friend and a dog who radically changed the course of my life. In losing A.J., my grief stemmed from the sadness of losing a dog who never lived up to his potential. A.J. was never given the opportunity in law enforcement to work cases where he could have captured criminals and solved investigations.
The second reason I feel this loss so deeply is because Chase is the last of my police dogs and her passing represents the death of my law enforcement career. I'm not sure that I ever fully grieved the loss of being a cop, because I always still had my police search dogs with me. Today, that police era came to an end.
During the final stages of her cancer, I was feeding Chase a special diet of a food called "A/D" and it had a very sweet smell to it. As she was euthanized, I gave her kisses and her lips smelled like a mixture of puppy breath and pineapple. I will never forget that smell.
Since she was superior at tracking the scent of other dogs, I am positive that Chase is already discriminating scents over the golden streets of heaven, tracking down both Rachel and A.J.
I love and will forever miss you my sweet Chew-Chew.
Kat & Dogs
Please consider making a contribution to Missing Pet Partnership to honor the memory of Chase. Your donations are tax deductible and will help further the cause of reuniting lost pets with their families. Contributions can be sent to Missing Pet Partnership, P.O. Box 2457, Clovis, CA 93613. For more details on search dogs like Chase who are trained to track lost pets, visit missingpetpartnership.org.