April 23, 2002 at 5:14 PM EST - Updated July 28 at 4:00 PM
CANTON, Ohio (AP) - Larry Carver already had raked away the spot in the dirt where his police horse collapsed and died Sunday.
The part-time Jackson Township officer couldn't stand to look at the mark on the ground at his horse stable anymore. It made him cry.
Carver realized he would never patrol the Belden Village Mall area atop Boze again.
The mounted officer issued parking tickets, settled disputes between angry shoppers and caught thieves. Boze became a favorite among mall employees, shoppers and children.
"People who said they didn't like cops, liked the horse," Carver said. "He was my buddy. He was my best friend. There are very few horses that will go out in the middle of Jackson Township in the middle of rush hour and cross all of those roads."
The officer plans to resume mounted patrol atop another horse this summer. But he said it won't be the same.
"It's going to take a lot of horse to fill those shoes," Carver said. "I don't think I'll call it Boze because there will only be one Boze."
The police officer spoke through tears about his horse.
"This might be stupid, but I can honestly tell you Boze was my best friend. I loved him like a brother," he said.
Carver bought the horse he called Boze about 15 years ago. Boze then was a 3-year-old quarter horse. Carver said the horse was clumsy.
"That's how he earned his name. I said I paid $1,500 for a Bozo horse," Carver said with a chuckle.
But Carver said he soon learned that children adored Boze. The horse would gently poke his head into baby strollers, inviting infants to pet his nose.
Carver guessed that there are probably a thousand pictures in houses of children sitting on Boze.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)