Danny the police dog will be returning to operational policing in the near future to serve and protect Canadians. RCMP
When RCMP Const. Dave Ross was gunned down in Moncton this June, one of the lasting images was of his police dog mourning his former handler at the funeral.
A few months later, the German shepherd named Danny is preparing to head back to work. Insp. AndréLemyre says Danny has overcome many obstacles since returning to the Innisfail RCMP dog training centre in Alberta to meet his new partner.
"You need to give stability to dogs. There are dogs that will encounter some situations, but it's the stability that you give to the dog afterwards that will make the difference," he said.
"This is why it was important for us to bring back Danny here — to bring him back into an environment which was more stable and then look at bonding him with a dog handler that had experience."
Danny was born at the RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre in Innisfail on Sept. 7, 2011. It's also where he developed a bond with Ross.
"I can tell you every time I come here — and I came here lots over the summer — I always think of Dave Ross and Danny," said Lemyre, who fondly remembers the two training together.
The pair had graduated from the training facility less than one year before Ross's death.
Sgt. Eric Stebenne says there is a powerful bond between police dogs and their handlers.
"I think it would be fair to say there was very likely some separation anxiety between Danny and Constable Ross when it happened," he said.
After the funeral, Danny was brought back to Innisfail to bond with a new partner.
Lemyre says the new partnership is going well.
"Danny's attention is to his new handler. He focuses on what his new dog handler is telling him," he said. "He focuses on the instruction he receives."
Interest has remained strong in Danny's future. An RCMP video titled "Danny's doing well" already has almost 100,000 hits on YouTube.
Lemyre thanked the public for their support but says now is the time for Danny to focus on the job.
He said the name of Danny's new partner and where he will be stationed is not being released. Danny has five more years of service ahead of him.
"This dog is a police dog. He has a lot of the energy," said Lemyre. "He is one of our top dogs and this dog is a police dog first and foremost."