One of the duties we had in the small department where I worked was checking the houses of citizens who were out of town. When the citizen left town, they filled out a card providing information about when they were leaving and when they were returning. The card also provided space for the citizen to let us know what lights would be on, vehicles on the premises, pets, any damages to the structure, and any items in the yard. These checks had to be made once a shift by the patrol officer assigned to the area where the residence was located, and the check was recorded on the card the homeowner had filled out for us.
I was working the midnight shift and came to work at 2200 hours. I received an out-of-town request for a check from my supervisor. I studied the request and saw that there would be a van parked in the driveway, no lights would be on, no damage to the exterior of the structure, and no pets.
It was approximately 0300 hours on a cloudy night, with no moon visible, when I arrived at the house. Immediately I noticed that there wasn't any street lighting available in that neighborhood. It was so dark I could hardly see five feet in front of me. I exited my patrol unit and listened for any sounds, but the night was quiet. To be tactical I lowered my portable radio volume and decided not to use my flashlight, as I did not want to give my presence away. I waited until my eyes adjusted to the darkness. I was totally focused, totally on guard. This is the way it's supposed to be.
I started by checking the front of the residence and then the carport. Everything was as it should be. I proceeded down the east-side wall of the residence, and again everything was fine. I was extremely careful about every detail, walking slowly, making as little noise as possible when I moved. I stopped and listened for any sounds before I turned to the corner to check the rear of the house. Again I heard nothing to cause any alarm. I started to check the rear of the residence.
I was starting to become complacent, since the check seemed routine, just like the hundreds I had done before. I began to feel safe and no longer was so careful about making noise or checking my surroundings.
As I reached the patio I sensed movement. I didn't hear anything, but a quick jolt of adrenaline told me something was wrong. Before I could react something struck me on both shoulders, a blow so hard it knocked me flat on my back.
I saw two eyes staring at me and felt hot breath on my face. I attempted to remove my service revolver but was unable to grab it while falling backward.
My life begin to flash before me, but I was determined that I would not go alone. When I hit the cement of the patio the weight of my attacker pinned me to the ground. I struggled to break free, when suddenly I felt a large wet tongue licking my face.
The biggest and blackest Labrador retriever I have ever seen lay on top of me, joyfully playing and licking me.
The next stop was home to change uniforms … for more than one obvious reason.