On June 24, Clearwater Police Sergeant Michael Spitaleri said goodbye to his best friend, his partner, his family member his dog, named Major.
Sgt. Spitaleri wrote for his friend, then shared it on the Clearwater Police Department Facebook page.
Major, one of our beloved former K9s, had to be put down today. He served the Clearwater Police Department and the city of Clearwater for six years before being retired in 2014. Below is a touching tribute written by his partner, Sgt. Michael Spitaleri.
To my faithful partner,
Today has been the most difficult day of my career. I made the decision to end your pain and suffering, however Im hurting far more than I anticipated. I already miss you, buddy.
I remember picking you up from the airport right before we began K-9 school together. My first impression wasnt accurate. I thought you were small and you appeared to be a bit timid at first glance. I honestly didnt know if you had what it took to be a police dog.
Nonetheless, we started K-9 school together in November of 2008. I quickly learned my initial assessment was wrong. You proved yourself to me time and time again. Your willingness to please me, your loyalty, and your fearlessness was very apparent as we progressed and graduated K-9 school in March 2009.
As a team, we had immediate success on the road. During our first week together that March, you successfully tracked and located a man who threatened his wife with a knife. Our skills and ability got better day in and day out from that point.
Throughout the years, we located dozens of criminals, illegal narcotics, firearms, and other items of evidentiary value. These arrests and finds wouldnt have been possible without you. You made me look like a superstar at times; truth be told, I was nothing more than the guy who held your leash.
Your reputation with our coworkers was highly respected. I always laughed when we would train with the SWAT team. During those training sessions we were around some of the toughest men I have ever had the privilege of working alongside.
When I would get you out of the car I would watch as these tough men would find the nearest corner of the room in an attempt to be as far away from you as possible, because they thought you were crazy. You werent crazy; you were my protector. You were their protector. You knew no limits and you would stop at nothing to make sure we made it home safely to our families.
Continue this letter on the next page.
You took your job seriously.
Ill never forget when I would try and key the radio to talk. It never failed; as soon as I got our call sign out K4 to the dispatcher you would begin barking so loud they couldnt hear a thing I was trying to say. I would get messages and/or requests from the dispatchers to repeat my transmissions.
They knew I couldnt stand it when you talked over me; however it was something you never grew out of. We still laugh about it to this day.
When you retired in 2014 due to medical conditions, the adjustment to being a normal dog was difficult for you. You would watch me get ready and run to the door in anticipation of going to work. I know you didnt understand the reasons I retired you, however I did it because I loved you, buddy.
I wanted to make sure your medical conditions didnt get worse. I wanted you to live a good quality life during your retirement. You deserved that and I stand by my decision. Just like you looked out for me every single shift, it was my turn to look out for you and protect you.
Although I know you didnt enjoy retirement like humans do, Im proud to say you adjusted as much as you could. You became my wifes dog. You became my childrens dog. You made sure they were protected when Daddy went to work with his new dog, Echo.
You would lay by my kids' door at night while they slept, almost as if to say I got them, Daddy, you go to work, and theyll be fine. I felt at peace knowing you were home keeping them safe. Thank you for protecting them like you protected me for all of those years.
I could go on and on about you. You made me the K-9 handler that I am today. You never met a challenge that you didnt rise to the occasion. You were a great partner and I am forever thankful for you.
Major, I love you and I will always remember our time together. Please go find the nearest police officer when you get to heaven and tell them you are a police dog and you are reporting for duty. Until I see you again.
Well that was a close call. That is everyone's main life mantra. If you really think about it, you'll know it to be true. Everyday we live, is another day we've survived, and death isn't the only thing we frequently sidestep. I have lost track of the amount of times my heart has almost gotten me into trouble. If I had been able to be with the people I thought I wanted in the past, I'd be in a mental ward right about now. Dodging a bullet doesn't even begin to cover it.Redditor u/Not-an-Ocelot wanted to hear about the times that have made people give some extra thanks by asking... What's the biggest bullet you've ever dodged?
Pay Attention<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY4NDQyNC9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3MTEyMDI3OH0.BmVGAHwjbS_vMDkx2jetH_zBsPpphZ3tZp5VJjeyhD4/img.gif?width=980" id="0dcaa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0ab54e83bfb77d5fefdb176242259411" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="500" data-height="275" />joe jonas relief GIFGiphy<p>I was a teen driver not paying attention at an intersection at the crest of a hill with low visibility when the light turned green. </p>
A Passed Mandate<p>This one just materialized yesterday, actually.</p><p>About a year ago at my job I was offered to switch from my current team where I was established for a few years, had seniority, etc. for a new department that just started to kick it off, write processes, basically start from square 1. A lot more work for the same amount of pay. I figured forget it and went.<span></span></p>
Too Many Idiots<p>I took my wife to an indoor shooting range in 2014. I had been at this range many times, and safety was always their top priority. They made you sit through a safety video, take a quiz, and get a temporary certification before they allowed you onto the range.</p><ul><li>Place got really busy and their safety policy became less stringent as time went on.</li><li>I noticed that the lane next to us had 3 people in it (already a violation).</li><li>Two big guys and one tiny woman probably her in 20's. They were handing her various firearms and laughing when she couldn't handle the recoil (big violation there, and incredibly irresponsible).</li><li>This girl was muzzle-sweeping everyone (another huge violation)</li><li>I got a bad feeling, told my wife to pack it up because we were leaving</li><li>As soon as we started walking away, BANG, that girl had fired a round right where my wife was standing just a few seconds prior</li><li>I told the range officers that they needed to get in there and do something about those idiots, and that we weren't coming back</li></ul><p>I have only been to a range a few times since that happened, and now I don't even go at all. Too many idiots. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lqjmm8/whats_the_biggest_bullet_youve_ever_dodged/gohqu3v?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank"> A_Garbage_Account</a><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/A_Garbage_Account/" target="_blank"></a></p>
buzz CRACK buzz...<p>I was out kayaking on a lake and several bullets whizzed by me. There was a distinct <em>buzz CRACK buzz</em> sound as it went by. I think some people were just out plinking in their back yard, adjacent to the lake, and didn't think a backstop was necessary. This also happened to me a few weeks later when I was paddling on a small stream. Bullets whizzed by above the bank, just over my head. <span></span></p>
Flight 103<p>I was booked on Pan Am flight 103 which went down over Locherbie Scotland. I didn't have a premonition or anything supernatural. I just decided to cancel my seat. Didn't think anything of it until the plane went down and my mother had written down my flight plan and reminded me. This was back in the day when you could cancel without a penalty up to a couple of days in advance.</p><p><strong><em>EDIT: </em></strong>You Know, when I posted my response I didn't realize how many comments I would get that involved people who were impacted by this sad event. <span></span></p>
Zapped<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY4NDQ0MS9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDY0MjY1MX0.Dj7w7DePtmC1CgiaJwmNIifD129RWS3T3j5acsHBIiU/img.gif?width=980" id="d6220" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b7cea1508bfde66080975250c5e9dcf1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="480" data-height="266" />Season 4 Zap GIF by Rick and MortyGiphy<p>I was subletting an apartment in college and got zapped by the electric stove. Gave notice immediately and moved out with very clear reasons why I was moving out. The building burnt a few weeks later. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lqjmm8/whats_the_biggest_bullet_youve_ever_dodged/goi3ew7?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">sadandshy</a></p>
Katrina<p>2005, my friend and I evacuated New Orleans 2 days before Hurricane Katrina and drove to Mississippi with the little money we had. We were trying to decided on where to stay for the night and it was between a mid range hotel or the really cheap motel. Decided to spend a little more for the hotel. During the night the eye of the storm came through Mississippi and flattened the roof of the motel we decided against. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lqjmm8/whats_the_biggest_bullet_youve_ever_dodged/gohyomx?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">kylexy929</a></p>
Delete Tinder<p>I matched with a guy on Tinder who played for the Atlanta Falcons. He was really charming and seemed nice. He asked me to fly down to Atlantic City for Memorial Day weekend, said he would pay for everything (airfare, hotel, food, etc.) but I had never met him before and he refused to give me his phone number. I was uncomfortable flying to meet a stranger so I told him no. Two weeks later he was on the news for kicking (and killing) his girlfriend's dog. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lqjmm8/whats_the_biggest_bullet_youve_ever_dodged/gohwwcf?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">coldestjeans67</a></p>
A Yamaha Pancake<p>Physically? A bus. I grew up in Bermuda, and since it is such a small island cars are limited to one per family, and everyone drives mopeds. I was driving into town, and came up to a red light behind a bus. As is tradition, I scooted around the bus to be in the front of the line of traffic. Literally 2 seconds later a second bus smashed into the back of the first bus at like 30 mph.</p>
D-I-V-O-R-C-E<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY4NDM0Ny9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTg5MDA0M30.mkwHiDROST0_hPO3i_EgY_PCWrX60u9MZ-c4FzHjZz0/img.gif?width=980" id="aa6ce" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="99ab09a1baf770607fa2d8286e6a574b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="500" data-height="281" />phaedra parks bye felicia GIF by RealityTVGIFsGiphy<p>My ex.</p><p>He got engaged right after me and proceeded to cheat on her the entire time until she broke up with him. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lqjmm8/whats_the_biggest_bullet_youve_ever_dodged/gohy29x?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">PlamEv</a></p>
When your time is up, your time is up. And when we march off into the afterlife it feels like everyone wants one of two or two things. People want to go out in a blaze of glory and/or in peace and without pain. I don't know if both is possible but I'll choose option two please. What I know for sure is I definitely don't want to be smoted by a stupid death. Like, Lord, please don't let me die choking on fried chicken and an XL frozen Appletini at the Dallas BBQ because I was laughing to hard at my own jokes. Please.Redditor u/BlueD_ wanted everyone to fess up about the times they almost met their maker in a less than dignified manner by asking... What's the dumbest way you almost died?
Torn...<p>Hooked shirt on roller coaster flying by while I was operating it.</p><p>Shirt tore but it threw me a meter onto track just behind it. I crawled off in time before it came back around. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lko2jl/whats_the_dumbest_way_you_almost_died/gnktz0m?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">GottaGoSmash</a></p>
The Lump<p>Born with a lump in my throat that was blocking my airway. It was so bad that I was turning purple from air loss by 3 months old, but the doctors kept telling my mom they couldn't find anything wrong. Finally was rushed to children's hospital where they did emergency laser surgery to remove the lump. Almost died to complete incompetence, thankfully the people at children's were much more capable. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lko2jl/whats_the_dumbest_way_you_almost_died/gnktt1d?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">Leroy_Spankinz</a></p>
So Wrong...<p>I was playing at some church camp as a teenager. They had us running around in the dark.</p><p>Well, they had a guy wire from a telephone pole in basically the middle of the forest and I ran into it at neck height.</p><p>You know in cartoons when someone runs into something and their feet fly up even with their body and they fall down? I'm pretty sure that happened to me.</p>
the baby....<p>I was born super premature and would apparently never stop crying and every doctor was just like "she's a baby, she's crying just because" until my parents took me to the children's hospital and then a doctor was like "yeah, she's dying. Surgery now." I was born with a double hernia. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lko2jl/whats_the_dumbest_way_you_almost_died/gnm5xj4?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank"> vampyreprincess</a><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/vampyreprincess/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a></p>
Just Walk<p>Almost fell to my death from the second floor of an abandoned theater because I was running down a flight of stairs that are just cut off midway. Someone with the fastest reflex skills just grabbed me by my shirt and pulled my backwards.</p><p>Don't run in abandoned buildings. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lko2jl/whats_the_dumbest_way_you_almost_died/gnl26xv?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">coldnymph</a></p>
Evil Mango<p>When I was 19, I ate a mango and it was a large piece and it got stuck in my throat. I started to choke. I found it hard to breathe and couldn't talk. My brother did the heimlich manuever on me and the mango came out. I laughed about it a minute later because imagine "defeated by mango" written as your reason for death. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lko2jl/whats_the_dumbest_way_you_almost_died/gnkx7o3?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank"> Spiderman230</a><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Spiderman230/" target="_blank"></a></p>
The Day is Out<p>Using a pickaxe while tired. Was using the flat end to break up dirt. It got stuck. I yanked it, causing my feet to slip on the dirt while I basically pulled myself straight down on the spike end. My arms shot out and I landed in a push up position with the tip less than an inch from my chest.</p><p>I called it a day after that. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lko2jl/whats_the_dumbest_way_you_almost_died/gnlkzi1?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">ProbablyYourButt</a></p>
Do Vodka<p>I was very sad and drank lots and lots of rum. I woke up covered in vomit all over my bed, I had probably vomited multiple times in my sleep. I was alone.</p><p>I could have choked on my spew and died.</p><p>I avoid rum now. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lko2jl/whats_the_dumbest_way_you_almost_died/gnlcg7n?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">writingwithmovement</a></p>
NEVER!<p>I felt incredible pain in my abdomen and laid in bed a week hoping it would go away. By the time I asked to go to the hospital I was in Sepsis. I was out of my head in pain, couldn't eat, high fever, etc.</p><p>Apparently I had a bout with diverticulitis. I had no idea what that was. Mine perforated and my white blood cell count was insane. The perforation was pouring toxins into my body cavity. They didn't do surgery, they only ran a tube down in my back to drain the 'death sludge' from my body. My kidneys and my bladder were trying to shut down. I'll never forget that pain for as long as I live.<span></span></p>
In the Shallow...<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY4MDY0OC9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDAxOTk3Mn0.UFH9fBx9qg1viY44abzSICqYdsMRrU2ep9zMiWwgRIc/img.gif?width=980" id="c2bd9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5ea60e1b2ffcfafbe156c7564d4eccb5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="480" data-height="270" />Lady Gaga Oscars GIF by SkyGiphy<p>Played in the shallow waters of a lake before knowing how to swim, father told me not to go further in and being the stupid rebellious child i was i immediately went in further and sank just as quick. luckily my father was watching and a former lifeguard, so he jumped in in full clothing and pulled me out.</p><p>the next day my parents bought me floaties. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/lko2jl/whats_the_dumbest_way_you_almost_died/gnkvz1j?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">ArnoNyhm44</a></p>
We may not know it, but sometimes things that seem routine or are just one of our personal habits can really hold back our lives.
One little change to cut those things, or to include new things, can really change the quality of our lives for the better. We have to be willing to drop old routines, which is hard and scary; and we need to be willing to accept new ideas into our space, which is also hard and scary.
New Body Parts<p>The kidney transplant I just received on Monday (Feb 15, 2021).</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/wanderingwiccan/" target="_blank">wanderingwiccan</a></p><p>It's amazing isn't it? Going on 17 years with mine and couldn't agree more. I'll never forget how miserable I was when my kidneys were failing and I started dialysis. </p><p>Those memories serve as added motivation to keep healthy now. Life is good. Best wishes to you moving forward!</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/realTurdFergusun/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">realTurdFergusun</a></p>
Out Vs. In<p>Giving up on trying to cure being a introvert and just being happy</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/RedditerAbc123/" target="_blank">RedditerAbc123</a></p><p>Introverts have just as much fun there are just fewer witnesses</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/minisis85/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">minisis85</a></p><p>Accepting yourself is truly liberating.</p><p>There's one important aspect of being an introvert or extrovert. As an introvert, you recharge by being alone. Extroverts recharge by being around people.</p><p>I occasionally enjoy being around people, and I'm good at being social. I even perform music in public. However, when I'm done with all that, I go home and have to unwind. If I go long periods of time without enough alone time, I start getting progressively more irritated and frustrated.</p><p>I actually feel happy and at peace when I'm alone. Other people will tell me they feel lonely, or like their apartment feels empty. For me it's a direct source of happiness, this isolation and peace. I don't want a family, a partner or even pets. I don't even like hearing neighbors around. Solitude is freedom.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/sunsetdive/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">sunsetdive</a></p>
Git That Mental Health<p>I did therapy for around three years, and I recommend it to folks to try at least once in their life. It can take a little time, as a lot of it comes down to having the right therapist who can get through to you, (advice: if you need to switch to a diff. Therapist or, at any time want to simply take a week or two off, during the process- voice that to your therapist.)</p><p>Wishing you all the best on your journey, there were times I'd second guess myself if it was "working" right away, but trust the process, you'll take a lot from the experience & learn a ton about yourself!</p><p><span></span><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Puzzleheaded_Stress7/" target="_blank">Puzzleheaded_Stress7</a></p>
I Am Not Everybody's Parent<p>I stopped caring so much.</p><p>For as long as I remember I've felt a burden of responsibility to my parents, my brother, to myself. Throughout my whole life my parents have relied on me to be the voice of reason, to be the one who has sound mind, to be the one good with finances, to give them advice. It's not healthy for a kid to be put under that kind of pressure, and it just built and built until they filed for bankruptcy in 2017, and when I burned out at work last year.</p><p>I went to therapy for a bit (for the 3rd time lol) after I burned out and realized that I'm putting up such a high bar of responsibility for myself and it makes, and made, my life ridiculously miserable.</p><p>I'm still working and going to school, but having a more relaxed attitude and almost forcing myself to procrastinate on my schoolwork has made my life so much more enjoyable.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/CozysMyName/" target="_blank">CozysMyName</a></p>
The Superpower Of Sobriety<p>Quitting alcohol. My life has completely changed in only the best ways. Most notably Ive accomplished all of my dreams.</p><p> I went back to school and earned my bachelor's, found the love of my life and got married, lost a bunch of weight and somehow look like I've aged backwards. Now my only problem is coming up with new dreams.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Billlliejean/" target="_blank">Billlliejean</a></p>
A Career Separate From Hostile Energy<p>For years I was convinced I chose the wrong career, and I was getting extreme anxiety, had to pull the car over a couple times going to work because of panic attacks. </p><p>Lockdown happens a year ago and all my stress disappeared and I realized I love my career, I just HATE office living and commuting. My biggest fear is the pandemic ending and being forced back into that terrible office culture.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/feral_philosopher/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">feral_philosopher</a></p>
Just Space To Remember<p>I've found that journaling helps me remember stuff a lot better. Also, on bad days, I get the catharsis of ranting without having to subject one of my friends to it. </p><p>I can also look back on past events and maybe figure out how I can do things differently or just reminisce. </p><p>Getting my feelings on paper or even a word document helps me deal with things, somehow. I stopped when things got real around last March since writing "I didn't do much today" every day was getting old.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Soulfire1123/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Soulfire1123</a></p>
Just A Better Life<p>My biological mother is an abusive drug addicted, alcoholic who put everything, including her other daughter, above her youngest child. </p><p>When i was 11, child services placed me with my Dad and his partner (my Mum, for all purposes of the word except birthing.) </p><p>In Australia, previously I was in N.Z. Its been a bumpy road, but I'm now 19, living out of home, have my license, own car, stable job and am studying at uni. I couldn't have done it without my parents, and i have the loving, caring, supportive Mum I craved as a child.</p><p>There was ten minutes where i didnt know if i was going into foster care or with my Dad, and it was the scariest ten minutes of my life, but ultimately that decision was the best thing that happened to me.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/lildee_19/" target="_blank">lildee_19</a></p>
Physical = Mental<p>Losing a significant amount of weight. My overall health is so much better. I sleep like the dead every night, when before I suffered badly from insomnia. </p><p>My blood pressure has come down to normal levels. I'm no longer pre-diabetic. I have cut back on the amount of medication I have to take, which obviously means I have money to spend that I didn't before. </p><p>I love exercising, even when I was morbidly obese, I enjoyed walking. Now I enjoy walking and I can walk so much further and faster than I could before. Another thing is the major change in my mental health. I was in a very dark space, and I realized the other day how much more positive my outlook in life has become.</p><p>10/10 reccomend. My journey has been slow, but it has been so worth it!</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Smart-Connection6154/" target="_blank">Smart-Connection6154</a></p>
A Partnership For The Ages<p>Finally telling my best friend that I was in love with them. We've been dating for two years now and every moment is like living in a dream. They're sitting next to me right now cluelessly singing out loud with headphones in and I'm OBSESSED.</p><p>Also, Covid has allowed me to drive around the country while working remotely and actually do a lot of the hikes that have always been on my bucket list. It really changed my life by reaffirming my long term goals (stay healthy, get outdoors when I can).</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/sodapuppy/" target="_blank">sodapuppy</a></p>
The photographers, DJs, officiates, and planners of the wedding industry hold a unique perspective.
They get to witness the lead-up to the couple's important, deeply symbolic day. Sitting at the table in that context offers those industry professionals a glimpse of the mundane dynamics of couples before the big event.