They start as puppies just like any others, but then they turn into an extra layer of combat against perpetrators – and in some cases an extra layer of protection for police officers.
B.C. RCMP relies on 89 dog teams across the province, made up of the best of the best German shepherds. In fact, only one-in-three puppies make it to graduation into the force.
But along the way, they still need a name, and that’s where the Mounties are relying on B.C.’s most creative to help out.
RCMP Cpl. Mike Jordan said naming the dogs is the first step in what becomes years of integral bonding between a police dog and his handler.
“It’s very key, we can get ourselves in some sticky situations where we have to protect each other,” he said.
For Jordan, he and his dog, named Dave have spent hundreds of hours together in training and being apart of investigations throughout the Lower Mainland.
On a few occasions, Jordan said Dave’s even saved him.
While tracking in Hope, close to the Fraser River, a rock gave in and Jordan started to fall.
“I was going to fall about 60 feet,” he said, “when Dave dug in and got caught by a tree with his long line and I was able to pull myself up.”
Although Jordan suspects Dave may not have realized he was saving him, but instead “didn’t want to go down with me,” it was nonetheless a moment Jordan won’t forget.
“It’s that bond that matters,” he said.