It was 3 a.m. Dec. 16 in Deborah Allen's north Everett apartment. The 72-year-old had fallen asleep on her couch watching "The Voice."
Her 10-year-old German shepherd, Charley, sounded like "the dog equivalent of human screaming," Allen said.
Charley could not move her hindquarters. Allen feared the dog had a broken back. She didn't know what to do. She knew she couldn't lift the 72-pound dog by herself.
The two of them have been family since Charley was three months old. The dog never had any serious health problems before, Allen said. Charley is the cautious, thinking type.
"As long as no one threatens or intimidates us, she is the most loving, social, goofy girl on the planet," Allen said. "She loves women and children and puppies and kittens."
As Charley cried that morning, Allen got a blanket and two pillows: one for each of them.
"I just laid on the floor next to her and just kept petting her and talking to her to keep her calm," Allen said.
More than two hours passed. Allen couldn't reach anyone on the phone. Finally, she tried the Everett police non-emergency line. She explained what was happening. They told her to call 911.
An Everett police officer got on the phone. He wanted to know if Charley would bite. The dog never had before, Allen said. The dog often is wary of men.
Allen told the cops: Don't knock. Just come in.
Sgt. Tony Britton and Officer John Coats arrived. Charley only barked.
"They stayed with us and helped me walk her out to the car," Allen said. "By this time, she was able to walk, but her hind legs were weak, and she was very wobbly."
With the dog in the car, Allen knew she could park at her veterinarian's office and wait for the staff to arrive. She told the cops about her two grandsons, brothers who are police officers in Georgia.
"I was just so grateful. Of course, I was bawling," she said. "I hugged the guy, and I think he was probably shocked. If I had a million dollars, I would have given it to them. They were so compassionate."
The vet suspects that Charley dislocated her leg, maybe getting on or off the couch.
The dog is doing much better now, Allen said. Charley is back at home with her friend, a cat who's named Trouble, "and there's a lot of good reasons for that," Allen said.
Back when Allen still was working, she brought the kitten home to keep Charley company.
"The kitten belongs to her," Allen said. "The cat, she only tolerates me when it's mealtime. The rest of the time she just sticks to Charley like glue. When Charley's asleep, she goes over and cleans her ears."
It wasn't a traditional emergency call, but the officers didn't mind helping out, Coats said.
Everett Deputy Police Chief Dan Templeman heard about what happened. It reminded him that despite the many difficult, troubling situations officers face on duty, there always is a commitment to serve, he said.
"These types of actions show that our officers truly care about the people in our community," Templeman said.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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