BARL celebrates everyday heroes

Published 9:27 pm Saturday, August 1, 2015

Just a few months ago, K-9 officer Lucas jumped into action to save Deputy Todd Frazier on a dark Mississippi road. Frazier was being attacked by three male subjects when Lucas bit one of them and sent them fleeing into the night.

On a bright and breezy Friday morning, Lucas and Frazier, healed and happy, had a much lighter assignment — celebrating the end of Brookhaven Animal Rescue League’s Dog Days of Summer camp.

It’s a rare event for 30 children to sit quiet and still during a presentation, but that’s exactly what the BARL campers did as they held a question and answer session with Frazier.

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One young boy asked how big the dog was, and he learned that Lucas was about 75 pounds.

“You wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of that,” the camper said.

Lucas is much more than Frazier’s partner — he’s a part of the family. Frazier said his nephew, Will, is a big part of Lucas’s life, and Lucas would defend Will before anyone else.

“I spanked [Will] when he was little, and he bit me,” Frazier said. “I know if he’ll bite me, he’ll protect Will to the end.”

Lucas was awarded BARL’s “Hero of the Year” award, and Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox presented Lucas and Frazier with a certificate of heroism on behalf of the City of Brookhaven.

Each of the children were given the opportunity to pet Lucas. Though they all seemed excited, many were hesitant when it was their turn. Through it all, Lucas remained friendly with each of the children.

“He’s not allowed to act a fool in public,” Frazier said.

Although Lucas was the star of the show, the camp also featured other everyday heroes, including EMTs and local law enforcement officers.

“All these people here are heroes, too,” BARL President Lu Becker said. “They’re who you need to go to if you need help.”

The children were able to spend time with deputies and EMTs as they explored the inside of an ambulance and a couple sheriff’s department cars.

“The law enforcement personnel and first responders were the highlight of the week,” Becker said. “They ended the week with wailing sirens and excited kids.”

Samantha Sivils, camp director, said Dog Days provided a great opportunity for the children as they were able to learn from multiple dog handlers.

“This has been our best year yet,” she said. “Kids and dogs are my two favorite things, so this is my favorite week of the year.”

Sivils and Becker have already begun to look toward next year’s camp. Sivils has set her eyes on an Olympics theme as campers will learn about dogs’ countries of origin.

“We’re going to have to work hard to make it better, but we will,” Becker said.