As pet owners, we often go out of our way for our animals. We buy them top-of-the-line food, squeaky toys, take them to the veterinarian, play with them, love them, and more. But what about when our animals do things for us? Our pets can’t talk but it doesn’t mean they aren’t intuitive and responsive to our needs. PVMA recently gave an award to one such intuitive dog, and I think it ought to be shared.
PVMA hosts an annual Hall of Fame dinner where awards are given out to our members who have gone above and beyond in the past year. In 2001, we also created the Wodan Animal Hero award to honor a Pennsylvania animal who had done a heroic deed while protecting animal or human life. The 2011 recipient of the Wodan Animal Hero Award was Jynx, and he was a hero in the truest sense of the word.
Jynx was a Deputy K9 officer with the Berks County Sheriff’s Department and was partner to Deputy Kyle Pagerly. On June 29, 2011, Kyle and Jynx were part of an extensive team of law enforcement serving a warrant on a dangerous fugitive. The fugitive, armed with a large collection of guns, hid in a sniper’s nest ready to ambush the entire squad. Deputy Pagerly ordered the fugitive to drop his weapon, gunfire ensued, and Deputy Pagerly was killed.
Jynx, however, refused to give up. He dragged his partner to safety and he alerted the rest of the squad to the fugitive’s whereabouts. Without his actions, many lives could have been lost that night. And Jynx is still giving comfort. After the accident, he was retired from the sheriff’s department to be a family dog to Deputy Pagerly’s wife, Alecia, whose first child—a daughter—was born in January 2012.
The effect Jynx has on everyone is obvious. At our awards dinner, 22 people from the family and sheriff’s department attended to see Jynx receive his award. That alone speaks volumes to me. There were standing ovations and lots of smiles and tears, but Jynx worked the room like a pro. It was obvious the comfort he brought to the family, to the sheriff’s department personnel who took turns petting him and hugging him, and to the people in the room who met him for the first time and were moved by the story.
So, I think it’s time we said thanks to the animal heroes in all our lives. Whether it’s a K9 officer looking out for all of us, a therapy dog who spends hours giving comfort to strangers who are in need of a little happiness or kindness, or our own pets who do something special, animals make our lives better. And hats off to Jynx who continues to be a hero every day.