Commentary: How a Newport cop helped answer my prayer

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."

I gulped.

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.

I drove the streets around 49th Street. Every person I saw, I asked if they had seen Moon Pie. Like my daughter, I was becoming frantic thinking about how the loss of this sweet little dog would devastate her. What if the dog was run over or stolen? I began to pray.

The moment I finished my prayer, I saw the cop I had spoken to. He turned the corner in front of me, and he waved to me as he went by. I continued to drive the area and about 20 minutes later I saw the cop again. This time he waved for me to stop. I rolled down the window.

"I found your dog."

"What?" I yelled.

I jumped out of my truck, blocking traffic, and ran to the police car. The cop opened the door and there was Moon Pie. I literally lept for joy. I gathered Moon Pie into my arms and turned to the cop and tried to hug him. The cop backed away and grinned.

"You're a stud," I said. "You have no idea how much this means to my daughter."

"Hey," he smiled. "Just doing my job."

I turned and saw the faces of the drivers whose cars I had blocked. They were all smiling and clapping. It was a great moment. But in my haste and excitement to get Moon Pie home to my daughter, I failed to get the officer's name. I called dispatch and there was no record of the event, so I decided to write this — not just to the cop who found my dog, but to all the Newport cops who make our lives safe.

My dad always said, "Most people don't like cops. The only time they interact with them is when they're getting a ticket or they're in trouble."

This is true, but as Henry David Thoreau said, "Most people can't see beyond the surface of things." Cops are heroes in small and large ways every day. It was only a lost dog, but to my daughter, and because of my love for my daughter, this was the most important lost dog in the history of the world.

A cop was the answer to my prayer, and to my daughter, this fine young officer was nothing short of a hero. This letter is a thank you to him and to all the men and women that walk that thin blue line.

P.S. FOLEY lives in Newport Beach.

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