Two weeks ago, Rocco, a canine officer in the city of Pittsburgh, as well as a number of men in blue were in pursuit of a local thug. Rocco led the charge, was shot at and was stabbed many times defending his comrades. If it hadn't been for the courageous efforts of this German Shepherd, several of the police said they could have lost their lives.
Rocco died a day later as the result of his horrific injuries.
The city conducted a funeral for the downed officer with full honors. His handler and family along with hundreds of service men and canines attended. People from all over came, too. Many expressed their sorrow and felt the need to be present to applaud Rocco's selflessness in person even though they'd never met him.
As a dog owner myself, my heart goes out to all the folks touched by the loss of this magnificent animal. Dogs are incredible creatures who are capable of unconditional love, perhaps the only living beings who are. There only purpose in life is to serve their loved ones in any and all ways possible.
Surprisingly, there were a few people who thought that such a send-off was over the top and inappropriate. One commented that "he was only a dog." Only a dog? Evidently he or she has never experienced the love shared between best friends. All I can say is such people are depriving themselves of a truly awesome relationship. Too bad for them.
Rocco died a hero. He will be remembered for his strong adherence to duty and his willingness to die for the men he was commissioned to protect.
Rest in peace, valiant officer. Well done, good and faithful servant.