Approximately 20 years ago the Plymouth, MA K-9 program was retired, but under the leadership of Chief Botieri, it was re-instituted in the spring of 2010. In March of 2011, an email was received from a family wishing to donate their six month old German Shepard to the program, that dog’s name Kaiser. Kaiser spent 6 months learning how to fulfill that role as a police dog and then was partnered with Jamie LeBretton. The two worked and lived together for almost two years, protecting each other at work and playing with the family at home.
On May 29th Officer LeBretton posted on the Plymouth K-9 Unit’s Facebook page…
Kaiser was recently diagnosed with severe kidney disease/failure leaving his health to decline rapidly. Kaiser battled this disease with vigor and toughness like I have never seen before. Although, as of late, the disease has taken the upper hand forcing him out of his craft and ultimately out of this world.
And on May 31st Kaiser was put to sleep so that his suffering could end and he could be laid to rest in a manner befitting an officer who had served and protected his community. However, this is not the amazing part of the story as so many of us have been forced to have our beloved pet put to sleep when they began to suffer. It is the manner in which, not only the department, but the world has shown support for this process; the series of events that lead to Kaiser being laid to rest.
As shown in the above picture as Kaiser was walked into to vets office where he was to be put to sleep officers from the Plymouth, MA police department. They stood at attention and saluted Kaiser as LeBretton walked with his partner into the building. It wasn’t simply the officers who served with LeBretton and Kaiser who showed their respect for Kaiser, but also the world, as donations and condolences came in to the department and LeBretton.
LeBretton wrote his reflections on the Plymouth K-9’s Facebook page as well.
RIP my boy. I could not have asked for a better partner or friend. May you rest easy and wait for me at that sacred bridge. I will be there my friend. I will be there. I will never forget you or our accomplishments. You made me a better person, a better handler, and a better cop. Till we meet again kai. I love you and will miss you daily.
…And to my boys and blue. Never in my career have i ever been so proud. You out did yourselves today. I could not have asked for a better send off. Kaiser truly was part of the department and loved being a police dog. My fellow K-9 handlers, you are a cut above and showed everyone what being a handler is all about…our pups. I thank each of you and you have my respect forever.
Kenny Ballinger and Marc Higgins, thank you for being there for my family and i as we weathered the storm. It was difficult, but i gained strength through you.
Lastly, to all of you who sent your regards over the past few days…I thank you. I read every single post and listened to every message. Kaiser served you well and the streets of Plymouth were safer when he was on patrol. The compassion was overwhelming and Iam humbled at the support from perfect strangers.
God Bless you all.
So often we fail to see the compassion and respect in this world. As we walk though our day we hurry along not noticing the small things and taking for granted that which is around us. It is events such as these that renew our faith in the state of mankind, or at least should, but too often they come and go so quickly that little more is done than the “liking” of a picture on Facebook.
The compassion and respect a person has for others can best be shown by the way they treat those who are unable to do anything for them and whom they have never met. That same compassion and respect should be shown in our everyday lives, not just to those who we encounter once and are in pain, but those who are around us on a daily basis. We must find the time in daily life to show that respect, to have compassion, and to observe the beauty that is all around us. Almost everyone has looked at a sun set and marveled at the beauty of it. The sun sets every night.. All we have to do is slow down and we will see the beauty that surrounds us.
By Justin Nutt, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer