When I blew out my knee for the 4th time in my life…I actually thought it might be the last. That my career was over.
I was on a track with my Police Dog Rogue. We were pursuing a suspect who had committed a robbery and then dumped the vehicle near the edge of a forest and fled on foot.
Now as a dog handler there are some things you wish for when you are tracking bad guys from the scene of a crime…
You get excited about days where there is dew on the ground from slightly cooler temperatures, the wind is all but non existent and you hope that the bad guy is dumb enough to run into a heavily vegetated forest.
It’s nice to have at least 1 of these conditions…
On this morning I had all 3. BOOM!
I might as well have phoned the bad guy and just told him to save himself from getting his ass chewed by my dog and walk out from the woods, because this was a lock.
I put Rogue on his 30 foot tracking line and cast him out and WHAM! He hit the scent like a 400 pound Marlin on deep sea fishing line.
When the scent is that fresh it is hard to keep the dog under control… he is hunting and his prey is close.
There is nothing more primal than hunting a bad guy like that.
The track continued on for about 15 minutes and suddenly it turned into a trail.
That meant the bad guy was even closer…
When the dog is tracking with his nose deep into the ground he is working for the scent but when his head suddenly comes up and begins to run, it’s because the scent hasn’t even made it to the ground yet…
Basically imagine a cloud of scent trailing behind the suspect like a princesses 25 foot wedding veil…
A beautiful stream of scent flowing behind the bad guy…and he was about to get caught.
Now if you have never been to the west coast (say like Oregon for my US friends) we have a lot of MASSIVE trees, both standing and fallen.
I closed the distance at a dead run on this dog track, we were navigating a forest of fallen old growth cedars covered in moss.
As I jumped from one fallen tree to another, over and even sometimes under these behemoths, I was aware that I needed to maintain my footing.
But when you see a fallen tree the size of a Volkswagen, the assumption is that it is still strong.
You know what they say about assumptions…
As I landed on the tree, it gave way. It was like catching a falling rock with a wet paper bag.
My left leg went straight down and through the tree, my right stayed planted and Rogue changed directions twisting me at 90 degrees…
I heard and felt a familiar *POP* and that was it… my knee had torn again.
The bad guy got a pass from being chewed but he still got arrested by a containment car so it was a small victory…
But my knee was toast.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time, as Rogue was getting on in his service life. He still was healthy enough to work another year on the street…or so I thought.
As I recovered from surgery and pushed hard to get back on road as quickly as possible, I was informed that the Inspector of my Division had decided to retire us early.
That is basically a death sentence for a working dog. All they know is the work, it’s their purpose…it’s what they love.
As angry as I was, and believe me I anticipated retiring right at that moment because I hated the notion some white shirt who had never done the canine job and didn’t understand, would just decide our fate…
I pushed on…
You see I believe deeply in 2 P’s – persistence and perseverance.
They have guided my life and created more opportunity than I could have imagined possible.
Throughout man’s history there have been various strategies to overcoming a challenge such as technology, advancements in thinking and communication and even violent conflicts to resolve a problem.
Yet underneath it all there were 2 qualities which lead people to overcome even the most unimaginable tribulations… Persistence and Perseverance.
In my experience and even those we can look at throughout history…or even in your own experience, I will bet you would be able to chalk up most failures to a weakness of will rather than external pressures.
A weakness of will… an inability to endure?
So what is the answer? It lies in your Strength of Will…Your Power of Purpose…
It lies in your ability to Persevere.
Do not wallow in despair when times are challenging and things don’t go your way.
The situation “is what it is” – you don’t control it.
We only control ourselves.
When barriers are placed in your way attempting to knock you down…do the extraordinary, be more giving, more understanding…more selfless
You aren’t in this alone. You aren’t the first to face this challenge. Reach out and take hold of the strength others have demonstrated before you.
You belong to something bigger, you are more than just “self”.
The road is never blocked, the challenge never insurmountable. Do not be your own worst enemy on the road to achieving everything you hope to achieve.
Persist, Persevere and become the greatest version of yourself possible.