Sometime between the twelve-gun salute and the three-helicopter fly-over, Undercurrents began wondering if the memorial service for Boynton Beach canine police officer Zeus last week might be teetering into overkill.Admittedly we were choked up when the seven-man color guard marched somberly down the grass at Caloosa Park, and yes, we dabbed a salty tear from our eye when the bagpipe player squeezed off a stirring rendition of "Amazing Grace," which sent the 75 or so police dogs in attendance into a barking frenzy. But the guns dried our eyes and the choppers set us into full cynic mode. Just a hunch, but we'd venture that James Connelly, the 17-year-old burglar who died alongside Zeus May 20 after a shootout with Boynton Beach police, was interred with much less fanfare.
Zeus may have helped save Boynton Beach police officer Robert Thomas's life, but so did Thomas' bulletproof vest. Why no salute to Kevlar?
Some 300 police officers from 30 agencies around the state attended the show. With mileage for all those cars, time on the clock for some of the cops, wear and tear on the choppers (which cost about $250 per hour to fly), the stirring tribute to Zeus undoubtedly cost taxpayers a lot of kibble.
But who are we to quibble? Zeus was, to quote the four speakers who eulogized him, "loyal," "courageous," "a canine hero," "a family pet as well as a police officer," who "knowingly gave his life for the love and protection of his partner." Undercurrents is comforted by the knowledge that all dogs go to heaven.