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Since he could not walk his dogs in Biscayne Park, he says, he would often take Bowie, Jerry, and Kismet to the Ancient Spanish Monastery -- a medieval structure built in Segovia, Spain, that was dismantled and then reconstructed brick by brick in North Miami Beach in the Thirties -- on NE 167th Street and West Dixie Highway.
McDade says he always kept the dogs on leashes, except when he was working on their sit, stop, and stay commands. He was also training Jerry for competition. "I wanted perfection," he says, adding he spent $4000 to have Bowie and Jerry trained by a police K-9 specialist and another $500 on electronic dog collars.
On May 6, McDade was walking Bowie, Jerry, and Kismet a half-mile south of the monastery, near the railroad tracks that run parallel to Biscayne Boulevard. The right of way consists of the train tracks and a large grassy field. McDade says he was teaching Jerry to work on his "prance" routine when Kismet found an old heavy-duty workman's glove near the tracks. "She came over and slapped Jerry on the snout with the glove," he recalls. "That was her way of saying, 'Let's go play.'" Jerry and Kismet took off running, but Bowie stayed with his master. The oncoming train didn't sound a warning since it wasn't near a crossing. "I yelled and screamed," says McDade, who is now sobbing as he relives the awful moment, "but it was too late. I cried and cried for hours. I wanted to lay on the tracks and die too."
He cremated the dogs' remains, which he keeps in two wooden urns. He also dug a hole in the ground and placed a tombstone, an exact replica of the one in his cottage, near the tracks where they died. The tombstone is engraved with photos of the dogs. Jerry's epitaph reads: "The most loving and loved friend and companion. You will be remembered forever." Kismet's says: "Always our most affectionate, loving 'Kiss' and baby girl remain in our hearts forever."
Despite his recent misery, McDade avers if he beats the charges, he will move back home and begin a new campaign to fire Gotlin. "I'll do it for Jerry and Kismet," McDade says, "and for my own peace of mind."