An Albuquerque, New Mexico, woman is thanking a local police officer who showed extreme compassion during a tragic pet emergency to shine a light on the good things law enforcement officers do for their communities.
Lisa Christine and her daughter were frantically making their way to the emergency vet on Jan. 11, 2019, with hazards flashing, when Cmdr. Art Sanchez pulled them over to see how he could help.
With tears in her eyes, Lisa Christine told Sanchez that her beloved 15-year-old labradoodle, Ellie Mae, was suffocating.
She told Liftable, a brand of The Western Journal, that the veterinarian diagnosed sweet Ellie with laryngeal paralysis about a year prior to this tragic night. This condition, according to VCA Hospitals, describes when the laryngeal muscles weaken and cause the “voice box” to collapse inwards.
Lisa Christine said that the vet told her that the diagnosis would not be fatal, but would only make her barks louder. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
As she and her daughter rushed to the hospital, Sanchez proved to be the calming presence Lisa Christine didn’t know she needed at that moment.
At first, she thought that they were being pulled over for weaving through traffic, but she noticed that when he stepped out of his vehicle he looked “concerned rather than upset,” which brought her a little peace in the midst of a heartbreaking situation.
“He immediately offered his help, took her gently in his arms, ushered me to his police SUV, laid her in my lap, and lights and sirens quickly drove us to the hospital and carried her inside,” Lisa Christine wrote in a Facebook post.
“I just knew he was there to help and offer compassion,” she told Liftable. “It was a huge relief. and I knew God was working for our good.”
Sanchez then escorted Lisa Christine, her daughter, and Ellie into the animal hospital and made sure that they were being taken care of before offering his prayers and respectfully leaving.
Sadly, Ellie passed away. Only 30 minutes later, Lisa Christine was sitting in the grieving room when a soft knock echoed through the room.
A vet tech popped her head in and let Lisa Christine know that Sanchez had returned after hearing the heartbreaking news that Ellie had passed away; he wanted to express his condolences.
“He entered respectfully and quietly, consoled us in our grief, stroked my precious girl’s head, and offered his continued prayers for comfort,” she wrote. “I will never forget his compassion and kindness.”
It was Sanchez’s outstanding compassion that prompted Lisa Christine to publicly share her story. She felt extremely blessed by his “true servant’s heart.”
“I want people to know that Commander Sanchez is not only an exemplary officer, but also a true public servant and a compassionate man,” she told Liftable. “He could have reacted much differently, but his concern was for our safety and he immediately sprang into action, with urgency and compassion.”
Lisa Christine hopes that this story shows people that “most officers truly want to help and serve us.”
She said, “There are so many stories about cases that end badly, which I feel are the exception, and so few about the true service that most of our police provide.”
“Please share this story, as I want others to know that police officers care, most do the right thing, many go far above and beyond their duty, and so that he will know how much his act of kindness meant on one of the saddest days of my life,” she wrote on Facebook.
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