Mica: Celebrating a Hero’s Life

A report from someone who attended:

Mica(Meeka) the Weare, NH Police Department K9 lost her valiant battle with cancer on Wed July 21, 2010.  Mica, a Belgian Malinois dog, was first diagnosed with lymphoma in the Fall of 2009.  Donations poured in for her treatment.  She had a brief remission this Spring before the cancer was again detected.  Mica had been a Weare Police K9 for 4 years and was 6 years young at the time of her passing.

I read about the Celebration of Mica’s Life on nhpetsonline.com and have just come in from her Tribute.  Her Celebration of a  Hero’s Life Memoriam was held at the Weare Middle School this evening July 29th at 7pm. I thought this was a beautiful gesture to honor what surely was a Special dog with quite a job of responsibility.

When I got to the school the parking lot was pretty full, police cars were lined up at the entrance and several police officers were on the sidewalk chatting.  As I walked inside the Cafetorium, there were many chairs set up.  The place was at least three-quarters full.  I was about 10 minutes early.  More people came and sat.  My estimations may be off but I’d say there were close to 100 people and probably more in attendance, many were children, children and adults were crying (Editor’s note – the Union Leader reports 200 people attended).  Many of these children had done fundraising for Mica when she was first diagnosed with cancer, this was personal for them.

As luck would have it, I was sitting next to someone who works at the Weare Animal Hospital where Mica had her regular vet visits and also spent time being boarded.  It was obvious by all the tears in the room even before the Celebration started that Mica would be terribly missed.

Chief Gregory Begin got things started by asking all present Weare police officers to come forward to one side of the stage and all other law enforcement and public servants to come forward on the other.  They all saluted to the sound of bagpipes playing Amazing Grace by Weare police department’s Lieutenant Carney.  Sergeant Joe Kelley, Mica’s handler moved forward to a beautiful flowered alter with a picture of Mica in front of it.  As far as I could tell, he placed a small red box that I can only believe were Mica’s ashes on the top.  Sergeant Kelley appeared to say a prayer as he bowed his head toward the alter, then he went up on stage to a chair. This was followed by a prayer led by a local Reverend and the Pledge of Allegiance led by the local Boy Scout troop.  The chief then acknowledged as many public servants as he saw in the room.  There were police chiefs, officers and firefighters from communities around NH.  Officers from Bow, Goffstown, Concord, Henniker and more that I cannot remember were there to Celebrate and mourn with the mourning Town of Weare.

After Chief Begin spoke and thanked everyone for coming, Sgt Kelley got up.  His voice was shaky and he had to wipe his eyes on more than one occasion, his Tribute to his beloved partner was moving.  A few law enforcement people got up to speak.  It became more and more apparent just how valuable Mica was t to this town. Then the Chief asked for words from the floor, words from the public.

Someone spoke about how juveniles had escaped from a halfway house and Mica had been called out to track them.  She had to wait patiently while Sgt Kelley helped this person bring her dogs into the house which sounded like a small circus – one dog came in, they got another dog in and the first one got back out etc.  Mica sat patiently watching and waiting for her orders.  The woman spoke of how safe she felt when Mica came out and rushed into the woods across the street in pursuit of the scent.  The juveniles were picked up in the woods behind MY house that day.  I was not aware of it because I was not home but my neighbor called to tell me about the commotion on our quiet street in New Boston.

A Dad got up and said that he got a call one day that his 4 year old son was missing.  Another very emotional story, every parent’s worst nightmare!  Surrounded by forest, they did not know where his son was.  Was he lost in the woods or had he been picked up by someone?  This man was so moved remembering his story he could barely choke out the words.  He was almost home when he got the call that Mica had found his boy in the woods a few hundred yards from his house.  He felt that without her they may not have found him that day.  Mica had answered prayers and created a Miracle, all was well.

Two Weare Ranger Explorer’s spoke a few words.  One was a young man who said Mica was the happiest dog he had ever known.

There was a slide show of Mica at work, some excellent pictures in it as well as some goofy ones that made us laugh.  It just goes to show you that although she took her job seriously and was one of The Best, she was still a dog who played and had fun.  That dog had trophies, many trophies that were all on display at the Celebration.  She was a hard worker who loved her job.  Her fellow police officers spoke that she wanted to work every day.  The chief said in her 4 years on the job she answered 40 calls each year. Her last demonstration if I remember correctly was on June 19, 2010.  Sgt Kelley knew it would be her last.  Mica also earned several First, Second and Third place trophies in the 2010 police K9 competition.  She truly Must have been an Amazing police dog.

Chief Begin spoke of his young son’s fear of dogs but when they brought him to the K9 academy to see Mica graduate he went up to her and petted a dog for the first time.  There was an immediate bond.  This is the type of dog they all said Mica was, she brought her community together.

As the Celebration neared the end, Sgt Kelley requested the family of the boy that was found to come to the stage.  At that point he presented the young boy with Mica’s collar.  He told the story of when Mica was diagnosed with lymphoma the family called to help.  The boy Mica had found started a fundraiser and raised money for her treatment.

Including police chiefs, officers and firefighters, residents from Weare and surrounding towns, those in attendance were staff from Weare Veterinary Hospital as well as staff from New England Veterinary Oncology Clinic – NEVOC in Waltham, MA where Mica was treated for her cancer.

The Celebration ended to the sound of bagpipes once again playing Amazing Grace.  Chief Begin offered people to stay for refreshments.  All were thanked for coming to share their joy at having known Mica.

I thought this Celebration was tasteful and well done.  It was a way for the community to come together one last time to remember Mica.  I hope that more communities will follow this example when the time comes and another K9 public servant passes.  These animals are inspiring and truly a joy to their communities.

If you are a Weare resident there is a selectman’s meeting on Monday August 2.  I have heard there will be discussion about buying a new police K9.  Let your voice be heard and attend this meeting.

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