I am the son of a cop. My dad spent 30 years in the Los Angeles Police Department, and I grew up surrounded by cops.
Jerry Wooters, also a cop on the LAPD, was a frequent visitor to our house. For most of my youth, Jerry walked from his house to ours for coffee every Saturday morning. It was his routine. But there were lots of others with names like Trailer, Knuckles and Matheney. They were good men and full of fun, in spite of the ugly and harsh parts of the world they had witnessed.
I liked them very much.
But until Dec. 28 I never really needed a cop's help. I mean really needed it. And it had to do with a dog.
A few weeks ago, we gave our oldest daughter a Corgi. You know, the kind of dog the queen of England has: long body, stubby little legs, giant head and ears. He looks like a claymation character, and his name is Moon Pie.
The dog is very important to our family. My daughter had gone through a really rough year, and Moon Pie seemed to change everything for her. Moon Pie is a year old and seemed to blend into our family perfectly. To my daughter, this odd-looking little dog is her best boy and constant companion, and a deep bond has developed between them.
But on the early afternoon of Dec. 28, Moon Pie suddenly disappeared. Our house is undergoing a remodel and there is a lot of coming and going. Someone left a door open and Moon Pie decided to have a walkabout.
When my daughter realized her dog was missing, she was frantic. She ran to the beach yelling, "Moon Pie, Moon Pie." I knew immediately that if the dog was not found, it was going to be a major crisis for my daughter. After the year she's had, it could be a breaking point. I immediately set off on my own search.
As fate would have it, a Newport cop had pulled over a truck a block from our house. I stopped for a moment and looked at the cop. The guy in the truck saw me and shouted, "Did you call the cops on me?"
"No." I replied." But I need some help."
I walked up to the policeman, who eyed me suspiciously.
"Have you had any calls about stray dogs?" I asked.
"Yeah, I had a call about an hour ago. A dog was running loose on PCH."
He asked what the dog looked like.
I described the dog and added, "He's kind of funny looking."
"I think I saw him," the cop said. "Down on 49th Street."
My mind raced. That's 20 blocks away. How could a dog with such stubby legs get so far away?
"Thanks," I said. "This dog is really important. It's my daughter's dog, and if something happens to him it will break her heart. The dog is more important than you will ever know."
I gave him my phone number and sprinted to my truck.