There are moments that clarify life for you. You may lose faith in the inherent ability of man to encompass community and wellbeing and then you are handed a gift.

One such moment in my life occurred recently when I was helping to keep one dog away from another that was in heat. Unfortunately, the dog ran off, having smelled something happening somewhere and being evidently determined to find it. No amount of shouts to “stop” or “stay” were obeyed.

I headed out with a goose call in hand as the dog usually responded to it well. An elderly man joined in the search, along with the dog’s female owner in a car. We searched long and hard to no avail during this chilly night, one of the few cold ones Montreal has seen this winter.

I arrived back and the owner phoned the police. Normally the police don’t deal with dogs in the south but surprisingly they had rescued Winchester, the male dog (the female is named Remington for those into hunting).

They told us they would bring the dog right over and were pleasant beyond belief. We were all grateful. Constables Linda Morin and Simon Prefontaine from Station 28 were laughing as they handed me the fugitive.

This brings me to a point or a thought of what happened. There was no ticket or warning but rather people enjoying a moment in which community mattered, even in the big city.

We look at police at times as an enemy. They are the ones who give us tickets and generally piss us off when they doh’t give us a chance or a free ride when we do something against the law.

It’s hard to be an officer of the law no matter where you are. It’s no wonder, given the stress they endure, that firefighters and police officers have some of the highest rates of suicide. To protect and serve sometimes has a too high a price.

As a police officer you have to give tickets to or even arrest family members, friends or just good people. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a city like Montreal or in a small community like the Cree ones. You feel left out of the regular life and small things like bringing back a dog to someone who loves it, most of the time goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

Think of how many times you have taken out or voiced your frustrations to people who are just trying to do their jobs. You tend to forget the moments they are part of the community in other ways then just trying to make you follow the rules of the community you live in. You even tend to forget the police officers are members of the community. If you don’t believe this ask any officer about it.

We are just as much of the “us-versus-them” equation as they seem to be.

Myself, I remember the police fixing bikes, running fish derbies and donating money to worthy causes, helping where they can and yes, upholding the law. They are special in the amount of sacrifices they are willing to make in order to make our communities work. I say special because of the ostracization they undergo in order to do their job.

Look at your police force today and just ask yourself one question: would we be better off with them or without them? I know my answer as Winchester was given back to me as a gift.