Gavin, a German Shepherd veteran of Boston’s elite K-9 Squad, was once the most decorated member of the city’s police force. Responsible for hundreds of drug busts, he achieved legendary status in 2015 when he prevented a dealer from shooting an officer at point-blank range by biting the assailant’s wrist and then pinning him to the ground.
Now, Gavin spends his days hanging out at a run-down dog park in Mattapan, watching other dogs cavort while he, ironically, smokes one joint after another. He’s gained nearly 30 pounds, mostly as a result of eating discarded fries from the McDonald’s across the street, and his blood pressure is dangerously high. The veterinarian he sees at the free clinic down the block says that Gavin is clinically depressed.
“It’s a damn shame,” remarks Eugene Flitman, captain of the K-9 unit. “Gavin was one of our best and brightest. But when Massachusetts legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, we really didn’t need him anymore in the drug division. We gave him a desk job for a while, but it didn’t work out. Gavin wanted to be in the street, where the action was. He took early retirement.”
An interview with Gavin reveals how bad things have become. “I used to have dignity. I was a faithful, one-bitch dog who provided for his pups. Now I can hardly provide for myself. In February, Marlene threw me out of the doghouse we had shared for 10 years.
“My offspring don’t want anything to do with me, and I can’t blame them. Gavin, Jr. is a seeing-eye dog in Scituate, and Trish works in Hollywood as a stunt double on Disney movies. They’re successful, and they’re embarrassed by their pothead father.”
“Why did I throw him out?” barks Marlene. “I’ll tell you why. After leaving the police force, he just started moping around, not helping out, ignoring me while watching old episodes of Rin Tin Tin on Hulu+ until three in the morning. Then he meets some Cocker Spaniel at a water bowl outside a neighborhood bodega and ends up getting her pregnant. No way I’m putting up with that s**t. And Ms. Spaniel would be wise to cross to the other side of the street whenever she sees me, or she’ll regret the day she was born.”
Captain Flitman maintains that stories like Gavin’s are unfolding all across the country. “Dogs with distinguished service are being released from police departments in record numbers, and encountering disdain on the home front that is worse than what Vietnam veterans faced when they returned from the war. But this time it’s not peaceniks leading the attack, it’s those damn hipster canines who are making money hand over paw from insipid TikTok videos. I swear to God, this is a national tragedy.”
Gavin sighs. “Maybe next week I’ll trot over to Walmart and try to get a job as a greeter.
“Or maybe not.
“Got a light?”