Yesterday was quite a day - and things could have gone really badly, but thankfully, we've got a fantastic police department in New Hartford.

Dear New Hartford Police Department,

As a parent, you never want to see the words 'New Hartford Police Department' come up on your cell phone's caller ID. Actually, I'm pretty sure you called twice - but I didn't answer the first time, because I was at work, and I didn't recognize the number.

When I finally answered, I'm not sure I took a breath. I know it was Lieutenant someone on the phone - but honestly, I was so focused on the NEXT words, I couldn't even tell you who it was. Sorry about that. It must be one of the surreal parts of your job - to often be the person delivering bad news, to play a large role in someone's life, but to kind of be an anonymous "police officer."

It turns out, the high winds yesterday blew our front door open, and our two chocolate labs, Nikki and Bella, decided they would go for a walk - they never miss an opportunity to read their pee-mail, eat some bunny poop, and chase a squirrel - even though, at 12 and 8, they're well past the possibility of ever catching one. (Don't tell them, but I think the squirrels have realized this and just play along.)

You let me know that you had picked up the dogs and they were safe. I didn't even ask where you found them. Did they get a ride in a police car? Then, because our door was wide open, your officers checked our house to be sure no one had actually broken in - thus letting the dogs escape (worst guard dogs EVER). Nope - the house was safe, it had only been the wind. Your officers even locked the door behind them.

I want to say 'thank you'. Thank you for taking care of our furry babies, for being concerned enough about our home to check it out, and lock it up. I'm sorry I don't even remember what your name is. We are so grateful for everything you do, every day. Your presence - even when we don't see it - is part of what makes living in a small town so great.

Thanks again. Nikki and Bella say thank you as well.

Sincerely,

Beth Coombs
New Hartford resident and dog mom