Just shy of a month ago now, a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Deputy found himself hunkered down in a snow-filled ditch on the side of the highway. He wasn’t there to help pull someone out of the ditch or to help a person. No. A hero through and through, he was there to help out a lost, injured dog.
Sergeant Chris Howlett was with his partner, Deputy Jason Beichner when they received a report about an animal in distress.
They could have chosen not to respond to the call. After all, it was freezing cold out and there was over a foot of snow on the ground. They could have called it in to animal control and let them deal with it all, but that’s not what the Chautauqua County Police force is about.
Instead, the deputy and his partner were quick to respond, wanting to help the dog in any way they could.
When they arrived at the scene, it was heartbreaking on so many levels. The dog was a scared female boxer, and her “distress” was revealed to be severe pain caused by injuries she’d sustained while being struck by one of the cars on the nearby road. A car that hit her with such force that it flung her into the snowy ditch, then drove off and left her there to fend for herself in the frigid weather.
Seeing how cold and terrified the poor girl was, Deputy Howlett slipped off his own jacket and wrapped it around her to try and warm her up. While he was tending to the dog and trying to comfort her, Deputy Beichner left to try and find the dog’s owners and let them know what had happened.
Someone passing by noticed the Deputy, knee-deep in the snow and crouched over the dog keeping her warm.
Moved by it, they pulled out their camera and snapped a quick photo of the touching scene. The photo was then sent to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s department and they decided to post it to their public Facebook page.
When they did, they added a beautiful caption. One that reminds us to appreciate the men and women willing to go out of their way to help others and keep them safe.
“During times that there seems to be negative press towards law enforcement, this shows a bit of compassion on the part of law enforcement and specifically our deputies. Sgt. Chris Howlett saw comforting a dog that had been struck by a vehicle. She was reunited with her owners who are monitoring her condition. She sustained minor injuries but is expected to be okay,” the caption read.
They were just trying to give a well-deserved shout-out to the deputy for his compassion on the poor dog. No one expected the post to go viral.
“It’s been a little overwhelming. To be honest, I’m not the type to be in the spotlight or to go looking for attention,” said Howlett in an interview with The Post-Journal.
Thankfully, when the department realized there were so many people wanting a follow up on the dog, they posted an update in the comments about a week later.
“Update The family has reached out to provide an update. Her name is Rogue and she is being evaluated by Veterinarians. She is doing well and hopefully, we will back home by Monday. I am sure the family has greatly appreciated the outpouring of support from everyone,” it read.