“Dirk”, Regimental #10

“Dirk”, Regimental #10

The relationship between a police service dog and its master is complex and deeply bound. There needs to be trust, communication, non verbal signals, en- durance, strength, and an emotional bond between them. When you combine the dangers of the job with their relationship it takes on a bond and loyalty that goes beyond words. It is not just a job. They work, play, and live together 24/7. They take down suspected criminals, find drugs and explosives, and perform search and rescue for those lost in harsh environments. Then they come home together for rest and recuperation. With a solid partnership and deep connection they then perform heroic jobs that neither could do alone.

“Dirk” was among the first dogs to provide policing services in Canada. In to- day’s world they are the norm and have expanded into so many further uses as a result. However, in the 1960s police dog masters had an uphill task in selling the use of their dogs to detachments and their members. They had to show what they were capable of and act somewhat like a salesman and sell their ser- vices. They had to pursue files and promote their successes to higher senior management. This took years and many sleepless nights, running out at all hours, no schedule, and 24/7 work. There weren’t many dog masters per prov- ince and in B.C. they started with 2 and progressed to 5 by the 1970s. Today there are 50 teams of police service dogs with the RCMP in B.C. alone. They broke through barriers and the results spoke for themselves. They had to cover an enormous amount of geography. Some of the following are examples of those breakthroughs in the 1960s.

!Dirk” Regimental #10, bred by RCMP ex trainer Gord Teeft and trained by Les Knoll. He was raised in a family environment. Sired 2 other police dogs Brandy and Billy. He was mostly black with orange and tan markings, weighing 110 lbs. Constable R.L. Marshall commenced working with Dirk in 1966. Dirk was 1 of 5 police service dogs on duty in British Columbia at the time.

Most notably, “Dirk” was among the first police service dogs trained in searching for marijuana. On September 19, 1968 “Dirk” was assigned to be used in a vari- ety of actual situations to initiate his training in searching for marijuana. On Sept. 20, 1968 “Dirk” and Cst. Marshall accompanied members of the Drug section at the border crossing at Douglas, B.C. “for the purpose of searching suspected automobiles which might contain marijuana”. Several vehicles were searched by

!Dirk” resulting in two seizures. “Dirk” clawed vigorously at the rubber floor mat- ting which was rolled back to expose a piece of metal which Cst. Marshall re- moved and found a plastic bag containing 22 tablets of black LSD. “Dirk” further indicated there was something more hidden under the panelling of the dash-

board. At this time the !suspect” stated !it’s under the ashtray”. They recovered a pipe bowl and some burnt plant material which was analyzed to be marijuana.

Due to this new search and seizure utilizing “Dirk”, the news media, public, and authorities were favourable to launching this form of search by the drug section.

On September 26, 1968 “Dirk” accompanied drug investigators on searches of three residences. “The handling and conduct of “Dirk” was commendable. “Dirk” located a cash of 15 grams of hashish in a garage, which in all likelihood would not have otherwise been discovered”.

From that point on Cst. Marshall was to continue utilizing “Dirk” in this capacity and reporting back to the RCMP training kennels in Innisfail, Alberta so that the NCO of the kennels might be familiar with the success and difficulties encoun- tered. Thus the beginning of Drug search and seizures utilizing police service dogs. (Attached original documentation).

There were many criminal apprehensions for “Dirk”. One of note received a Commendation for their work apprehending an armed Criminal near Agassiz,

B.C. Cst. Marshall and “Dirk” were commended for their “courageous conduct that resulted in the criminal being apprehended immediately which no doubt prevented a more serious situation from developing due to the assistance of “Dirk”. Neither dog nor officer were harmed.

The following call demonstrates Police service dogs’ amazing abilities to retrieve all kinds of evidence and what kind of partner they truly are. July 20, 1967 “Dirk” was uti- lized on a call for Possession of a Weapon in Burnaby, B.C. When Cst. Marshall and “Dirk” attended the scene, RCMP members had 3 suspects apprehended. Upon arrival they had one .22 caliber rifle obtained. Shortly after arrival a 4th suspect appeared from the bush. Cst. Marshall recommended they be taken to the detachment to be further interviewed and he would conduct his search with the dog. Upon moving the suspects to the vehicle, one suspect made a motion to turn on Cst. Marshall, “Dirk” immediately had him by the arm, protecting his partner. Once the suspects had been removed, “Dirk” was utilized to search the area where the alleged offence occurred. While searching the area “Dirk” commenced digging in the dirt bank until he retrieved a loaded revolver which was buried 10 inches below the surface. In continuing the search, Dirk located a second revolver that had been thrown into the bush. Again “Dirk” had shown his abilities to retrieve needed and hidden evidence.

After commendable service with “Dirk”, Robert Marshall received a promotion to Corporal. One of the first cases in this new title highlights the challenges police dogs face in the weather and terrain of British Columbia. It was November 1969, off the west coast of Central BC. Ed Hadgkiss and Kathy Rheum had been flying in the fall/winter and the weather was rapidly changing and became treacherous. Hadgkiss had to adjust his flight plans several times en route due to weather. As a result, he ran out of fuel and was forced to land. Ed took the plane down atop a ridge line on Roderick Island. The terrain was rocky, full of crevices and trees. The plane scraped along the rough icy terrain, flipping it over leaving it upside down next to a cliff edge.

Cpl. Marshall and “Dirk” along with two other dog masters and five Air Sea Res- cue persons were brought in to an abandoned fishing cannery. They used the building as a base camp where they slept on the wooden floors and had sup- plies brought in. Each morning the police service dogs and dog masters were helicoptered to the island at the top, where they would spend an entire arduous day in treacherous terrain performing their search in winter conditions. There was upwards of 20 feet of snow in some areas, temperatures reaching -20c with

the wind, and dense brush and trees lined the entire island right to the water”s edge. There were no beaches, just rock, ice, snow, dense brush, and trees. It would take upwards of 7 hours to hike one mile.

On the first day of their search as they approached the island they saw a pack of wolves scrambling their way up to the plane. The plane lay amongst some trees upside down surrounded by cliffs dropping 200 feet. Upon searching the plane they found a note from the couple, stating they had set up camp but left to head

down to the water”s edge to build a fire near a shipping lane in the hopes a boat would rescue them. The team maintained their search every day going to the is- land in this tough, unforgiving environment for a week. Arriving at dawn and leaving at dusk. Unfortunately, the couple were never found. “Dirk” and Cpl.

Marshall returned the next spring attempting another search, again to find no sign of the couple.

In addition to his police service duties, “Dirk” and Cpl. Marshall were trained in Parks Canada Mountain Rescue (search and rescue). In February of 1972 the Coquitlam chapter of Search and Rescue began and “Dirk” was part of the first case to search and locate 2 teenage boys that had climbed Burke mountain into Munro Lake. The hike into Munro Lake is treacherous, with many cliffs and geo- graphical challenges. Tragically they were located with one of the teens not hav- ing survived. “Dirk” continued on to complete many rescues including avalanche searches until he retired.

“Dirk” was bred, raised, and trained a police dog first and foremost but he was also a family dog. Out of the three police service dogs my father had, “Dirk” was the one that fit seamlessly into our family like a sibling. He loved hanging out with us and enjoyed a good ice cream cone. He was a gentle giant at home, however, he knew his job and he did it exceedingly well. He had an ability to pivot between work and home life. For example, when my brother was 2 years old he decided to go after “Dirk” with a broom. Now under work circumstances that would have prompted “Dirk” into action to defend and take down a person, however, under family conditions “Dirk” gently grabbed my brother by the arm and pulled him from the broom. Not a mark on him.

“Dirk” rose up to all that was asked of him, he was exceptional in all he did, Search and Rescue, Drug Search and Seizure, evidence retrieval, and criminal take downs.

A heroic, loyal, gentle giant and friend.

“Dirk” Regimental #10 was decommissioned in 1971.”

Meet Our Retired Hero PSD Clive

Meet Our Retired Hero PSD Clive

We are BARKING with joy that we get to share with you the journey of our retired hero PSDClive!

Clive was born in Innisfail, Alberta, and entered into the Puppy Imprinting program with Cst. Matt Young (Cool side note… Clive started his career with Matt and ended up retiring to have Matt and his wife Leah become his Pawfect Parents! Life comes full circle, just like a good tail chase!) Clive was posted to Williams Lake, BC where he followed his nose around Central and Northern BC with his sidekick Cpl.Gord Rutherford. Clive, being the tracking extraordinaire he is, was involved in the tracking and rescue of a senior with Alzhiemers who had wandered from their home and gotten lost in the middle of winter. Once Clive and handler Gord located him, they carried him out of the area in deep snow to safety. Clive knew at that moment, saving a life was even cooler than catching criminals! 

Clive was medically retired due to some spinal issues, which has caused him to have a weak hind end and impaired hind legs. This has affected his mobility, but it hasn’t slowed him down much, as you will notice in his pictures! He was also diagnosed with Pannus which is an eye disease that can cause blindness when not well controlled Often working dogs have to be retired due to the progression of this disease. Although not a cause for retirement, Clive was also diagnosed as having a malfunctioning thyroid a few years back.
Recently Clive has had a few medical setbacks which we don’t like to hear about at Ned’s Wish, but are grateful to be able to support him and his family. He was recently diagnosed with early kidney disease and his family was in the process of figuring out the best management to slow down this chronic progressive disease when he was hospitalized for dehydration due to a stomach bug.  He seemed to bounce back after his excellent vet care with Dr. Jenny Thompson, but unfortunately that wasn’t the end of his worries.  Despite him feeling almost back to normal, he had a scheduled abdominal ultrasound to see if there was an underlying reason for his tummy upset. The ultrasound revealed a mass sitting on his spleen. It is highly likely this is a cancerous mass given his age and breed.  It would be called a Splenic Hemangiosarcoma. His family has decided to not pursue aggressive treatment including surgery and chemotherapy, instead opting to enjoy every healthy moment with him, for as much time as that may be. 

Even with all of that happening, Clive has the world by the TAIL! Since his retirement, he has been enjoying PAWSH stays at the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver, Seattle & Whistler. Clive signals for his welcome cookie by placing his paws on the counter, waits for room service to deliver his bed (even if it’s two sizes too small) and convinces the shuttle driver to let him hangout in his BMW!

Clive has also been seen sporting his life jacket all around Okanagan Lake enjoying a good swim, or nesting over his toys like a chicken with an egg!

Clive brings so much joy to everyone and loves to travel everywhere meeting new friends along the way! We know Clive is so grateful to enjoy his retirement as pain free as possible!Enjoy your retirement Clive! Your bravery and loyalty will not be forgotten!!

Brando – Part 7: We all need a little help from our friends

Brando – Part 7: We all need a little help from our friends

Brando is a social dude, and one of his favourite things is to develop relationships with all the people he meets along the way.  Brando’s family told us he wanted to thank three of those special people who made his stay in Calgary that much more fun. 
First up, Brando wants to give a huge shout out to our very own VP, Tatiana Alexanian. She showed up nearly every day Brando was in treatment to take him on walks… most times more than once!  She gave Brando a chance to get out of the clinic environment for a brain break to go sniff things, pee on stuff, and to just be a dog. Those walks really helped Brando’s mental health during treatment, and helped him miss his family just a little less. She also sent a treasure trove of photos and videos from those walks to Brando’s mom, which greatly eased her mind knowing that Brando was getting exercise and love while he was away.  Brando’s biggest thanks to Tatiana however, is for his beautiful plush hedgehog that he loves more than even food. Brando has a bit of an obsession with hedgehog stuffies, and likes to carry them on his walks, but had to take a break from them post surgery until his incision healed well enough to be able to bite, crunch, and suck on his favourite toy. Because of this, his mom didn’t pack any of his house hogs for his trip to Calgary. So when Tatiana showed up with a brand new one after he was cleared by his neurologist, IT. MADE. HIS. LIFE. His mom tells us that Brando STILL hasn’t put the hedgehog aside, has carried it on every walk since he’s been home, and also uses it as a pillow when he sleeps!
Next, remember Dr Stephanie Maloney from our post on initial diagnosis?  Well, Brando sure does!  Dr Maloney was in Calgary just after Christmas, and took time out of her busy schedule to visit Brando and check on how he was doing. As you can see from the photo, Brando was very happy to see his old friend, and thank her for being such an instrumental part of his journey through meningioma. It sure takes a special vet to fly across the country to see a former patient and give him a snuggle!  
Brando insisted a direct quote be used for this third thank you: “to nice lady who do doggy Uber home to mom after grad, you gib good bacon snack, allow doggo naps on da consoles, and gib best ear scritches.  Much wuv, Brando.”  Brando’s mom tells us the nice lady was none other than her friend Steph Gratton… thank you Steph for getting Brando back to his family!
Brando, his mom, and all of us here at Ned’s Wish are very grateful to have such fantastic human beings on Brando’s side through his illness!

Brando – Part 6: Radiation Graduation

Brando – Part 6: Radiation Graduation

On January 7, our retired hero Brando completed his radiation treatment and was cleared to come home for good. His mom was working and unable to come pick him up, but a few friends, including the wonderful Ned’s Wish VP Tatiana Alexanian, and Dr Sweet’s team were able to put together a special graduation ceremony for Brando before he came home. 
Brando was pretty proud of himself, and he KNOWS he can rock a hat and tie, so was very happy for all the attention and excitement. 
Dr Sweet and her team at VCA Canada Animal Hospitals were such great supports during Brando’s radiation, and even provided him a graduation gift when they sent him home.  From Brando’s mom: “Dr Sweet and her team truly cared for Brando, which was evident in how he responded to seeing them at every drop off, and in all the special care he received. They gave me daily updates, and were always available to me on the weekends and during his Christmas week to monitor how he was doing and deal with any side effects that came up. They clearly love animals, and knowing I had them in Brando’s corner made being away from him for his treatment much more manageable.”

Brando – Part 5: Treatment side effects

Brando – Part 5: Treatment side effects

Did you know? Aspiration pneumonia is an extremely common side effect of dogs who have had brain surgery. Thankfully for our retired hero Brando, his treatment teams did know that, and gave our sweet boy every advantage possible to get him through not one, not two, but THREE bouts of aspiration pneumonia post surgery.

His first bout happened during his post surgery stay at @pulseveterinary. Because of the treatment plan already in place, it was very mild and resolved quickly.

His second bout occurred at @vcacanada.westernvet. Anyone who knows our Brando, knows he’s…. A bit of a show off, and REALLY likes his food. In an episode of poor decision making reserved for tough guys doing crazy things to impress the ladies, Brando decided to inhale his entire food bowl at once just to show he could, and ended up choking and aspirating resulting in… you guessed it, pneumonia. Dr Sweet and her team congratulated Brando on his skills, quietly requested a slow feeder bowl so as not to hurt his feelings, and put him back on antibiotics to clear up what ailed him. Brando rated the experience: “10/10 would try again, you shoulda seen the ladies flock when I did my choking trick. I am so cool.”

His final bout occurred a day or so after he came home for the first time, during his Christmas break week. Brando started feeling crummy and lethargic overnight, then quickly developed a cough and refused to eat. He was rushed to @pulseveterinary where his favourite ICU person, Dr Tong, took over his care. Dr Tong recommended high flow oxygen and a tracheal wash test this time round, as it was more severe than before and she suspected the infection had become resistant to the antibiotics previously used. As you can tell from the picture, Brando didn’t seem in the least put out by any of this, and was just happy to chill and hang out with his friends at Pulse ICU. Dr Tong determined that his infection was indeed resistant and prescribed more appropriate medication to get him back on track. After a quick three day stay, Brando was back in fighting shape and able to enjoy Christmas with his family!

Not that it’s a surprise to any of us here at Ned’s Wish, but, this clearly shows what a fighter Brando is and we are so happy his determination has seen him through treatment and back home to his family. Go Brando!!

Brando – Part 4: Radiation

Brando – Part 4: Radiation

Brando completed a 4 week low dose course of radiation with the wonderful folks at VCA Canada Animal Hospitals with Dr Katherine Sweet and her fantastic team. His treatment started on December 6, however the previous week Brando went in for a CT scan. This was to get an updated view of the treatment site post surgery, and also take impressions for the custom bite plate Brando would require for the rest of his treatment.

Brando was required to stay in Calgary during the weeks of his daily treatments (due to the distance from home), so became quite the favourite guest in the radiation and ICU departments. I’m sure they miss his high pitched squeak barks and snuggles now that his treatment is complete! Brando was able to come home for a week during Christmas, and a few weekends during his treatment.

Because the patient has to be completely still during treatment, Brando was under anesthesia each day, and carefully placed on his custom bite plate. Once all adjustments were completed (which can take up to an hour), the treatments themselves only took a few minutes.

Side effects from this treatment are typically very low risk, but complications do occur. Brando suffered lethargy, slower digestion which caused a few vomiting episodes, and two further bouts of aspiration pnemonia. We will have a special post about the aspiration pnemonia, but both that and his slower digestion were resolved with medication and very careful care from both VCA Canada Animal Hospitals and Pulse Veterinary.

Stay tuned for part 5!

Brando – Part 3: Surgery

Brando – Part 3: Surgery

Retired Hero Brando had brain surgery on November 17 under the capable hands of Dr Casey Smith of Pulse Veterinary.

This risky surgery was part one of a two part treatment plan for Brando’s meningioma detailed in our part 1 and 2 posts. Dr Smith worked very hard on Brando, keeping his safety forefront in her mind through out the entire surgery. Despite a bleed early on that took some time to control, her expertise guided Brando successfully through the surgery, and allowed her to excise the majority of his tumour safely. He woke up a few hours later, and remained in the ICU for several days post surgery for round the clock care. This was also necessary to determine if Brando suffered any neurological deficits resulting from the surgery that would affect his quality of life.

While Brando did suffer a bout of pneumonia after his surgery, his Pulse Veterinary critical care team (with a special thanks to Dr Tong for all her hard work) were able to treat him very effectively early on, so Brando could finish recovering at home. From surgery, to aftercare, to sending him home, the Neurology and ICU teams at Pulse Veterinary made sure Brando was well taken care of.

Brando was able to return home on November 21, to finish recovering with his mom, until it was time to start his radiation.

Stay tuned for Part 4!

Brando – Part 2: Treatment Plan

Brando – Part 2: Treatment Plan

Remember Brando and his fight against meningioma? After his initial diagnosis in Prince Edward Island, Brando traveled home to Alberta with his mom, and completed consults with two outstanding veterinarians, neurologist Dr Casey Smith of Pulse Veterinary, and oncologist Dr Katherine Sweet of VCA Canada Animal Hospitals. Dr Smith and Dr Sweet carefully detailed all the options available for Brando’s meningioma, and after careful consideration, Brando’s mom opted for surgery, followed by a 4 week course of radiation.

Brando’s case has several features that made this decision the best for him and his family. First, his tumour was placed in an area that was accessible for Dr Smith to excise the tumour. Also, since the tumour was benign, and all other imaging showed that Brando was very healthy in all other areas of his body, he was considered a good candidate for the surgery. While removing the tumour seems like it would cure the problem, with a brain tumour a surgeon can’t remove a safe margin of healthy tissue to ensure a full excision. Radiation following surgery provided the best survival rates in other dogs, and all involved thought Brando deserved his best chance.

The final consideration of course, is cost. It’s a stark reality that families have to consider cost when treating their furry family members…Brando’s treatment plan carried costs in the ballpark of $40,000…. A huge amount for any family to take on. Thankfully, Brando’s mom got pet insurance for him through @petsecure, and they covered 80% of the cost of treatment… if ever there was an advertisement for pet insurance, this is it!! Ned’s Wish was honoured to also help Brando with the cost of his treatment, so he and his family could just focus on him getting better. A message from Brando’s family: “Ned’s Wish was there for us every step of the way. Not just with help covering our portion of costs, but with emotional support, encouraging words, and the whole team reaching out for Brando updates and snuggles. Ned’s Wish is absolutely vital for retired police dogs, and their families.”

Brando’s surgery was scheduled for November 17, and his Radiation started on December 6. Stayed tuned as we take you through how he did!

Dirk’s Journey

Dirk’s Journey

At the beginning of January Dirks’ mom found him one early Saturday morning standing in their entryway facing the corner with his tail tucked between his legs, breathing heavily. Originally she thought that he may have had an accident in the house as he was acting a little embarrassed, but while she called him up the stairs, she noticed that he was not walking properly at all. It seemed as though his hind legs were quite weak and wobbly. Dirks was quite uncomfortable and had a minor fever. He even had a hard time sitting down.Right away, they notified their vet, Dr. Kathryn Welsman. At first they thought that he may have fallen down the stairs in the middle of the night and potentially tweaked his back or his hips. There was also a potential that this may have been a reaction from his allergy medication. There were many variables as to what it could have been. On the Monday following the discovery, Dirks went in for an Xray with Dr. Welsman at the Oriole Road Animal Hospital and Dr. Welsman noticed there were a couple of disks that had obvious irritation. They decided to treat it as an injury at first, and had him rest as much as he could. Dirks started to receive some anti-inflammatory and pain medication to help with the pain. They hoped that this would do the trick. Unbeknownst to them, it wasn’t quite what we were expecting…

Ned’s Wish on Under Reserve Podcast

Ned’s Wish on Under Reserve Podcast

A heartfelt gratitude to Daniel for having Stacey and Phil on the Under Reserve Podcast.

Through this episode, we get an inside look at the difficult, and often dangerous work Police Service Dogs have to do during their careers. Due to the nature of their work, their life in retirement is usually impacted in no small manner. Stacey shares her story of Ned, this organization’s namesake, and the reason why Ned’s Wish was formed. Listening to this podcast puts into perspective how much care our heroes need during retirement.

Go give Ned’s Wish’s episode of Under Reserve Podcast a listen!

Remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!