The dedication to raising funds to help Jerry Flores, aka “JFlo,” reached far and wide and couldn’t have been done on the large scale witnessed at the Minute Maid Park fundraiser in his honor on Aug. 23.
A breeder of German Shepherds donated a registered male for use by HPD. When this full-blooded four-legged potential officer showed more family compatibility than the aggressive nature necessary for a canine cop, his career path went another direction.
And so it was that “Jerry the Dog” was auctioned by Allen Helfman, drawing a bid that at first went to Helfman ($1,700) but later was trumped by another bidder ($1,800).
What better person to tell the dog story than a dedicated mom who more frequently tells horse stories.
We speak of Kim Richards, the mother of one of HPD’s famed “Smash girls,” who regularly volunteer for the care and feeding of the HPD Mounted Patrol steeds.
The story of Smash has been told and retold on TV, in newspapers and in two books. The girls were each born with an intellectual disability but with a natural love of animals and pets of all varieties.
Richards, whose daughter Katherine is one of the Smash girls, said the Shepherd who was determined to be too friendly and family-oriented was named after Officer Flores and set aside to be “an auction item.” Kim and Katherine cared for Jerry in the days leading up to his presentation before the eager bidders in Helfman’s charge.
“The name was in honor of Jerry Flores,” Richards explained. “There was never any other name considered.” She said when a temporary home was needed for about two and half weeks before the auction, the Richards home was volunteered.
“They found his disposition to be that of a great family dog,” she said. “He doesn’t have the aggressiveness to be what the department needs.”
Jerry the Dog brought the highest bid of any of the multitude of items offered in the auction. Late-arriving bidders clamored to top the $1,800 bid. One of them readily offered $2,500. The auction rules, however, forbade reconsideration.
Richards, one of the parental leaders of the Smash girls, said Smash, the deaf horse in HPD Mounted Patrol, is now the subject of a second book, an activities book for young people that features word puzzles, how-tos and “find the hidden animal” games, for example.