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Data

Parks Canada Canine Data is not only special because he was the youngest dog to finish his training, but he was also the first working dog that retired to a then young constable with the RCMP, and now the founder of Ned’s Wish.

PC Data was a German Shepherd with a Czech-bred pedigree, Data came from a breeder from the Lower Mainland, BC, and worked in Banff National Park and area from 1994 to 2000. Park warden, dog handler Scott Ward started pre-training Data when the young dog was 6 months of age. Data subsequently graduated from the RCMP Police Dog Service training program at just 11 months of age in just 5 weeks, possibly the youngest dog ever to complete training at that age!!

His handler referred to him as a hard worker who was both reliable and incredibly capable. Data had a very well-balanced disposition. Data was very strong in all searching and tracking profiles, and made his handler look like a rock star virtually every time he came out of the truck.

One of the more memorable and entertaining tracking incidents with Data involved a knife-wielding ski mask-wearing robbery suspect who robbed a fast-food chicken restaurant in Canmore, AB. The guy didn’t want just the cash but the entire cash drawer from the register,which the store clerk dutifully handed over. At this point the guy exclaimed “Gawd, it’s hot in here” and lifted his ski mask so that all the patrons of the establishment could see his face before he exited the store with his ski mask, knife, and the cash drawer in hand. Data and his handler showed up at the restaurant about 20 minutes later and started tracking. The dog team followed the suspect’s track, and in due course found the discarded ski mask, knife and empty cash drawer, and a bread crumb-like trail of coins. The track led right through Canmore’s Lion’s Park and promptly ended on the pavement. At almost that moment the RCMP member accompanying the dog team got a radio call that a taxi driver had called in and was reporting that he had picked up a suspicious guy at Lion’s Park who had offered to pay him $200 to drive him to Calgary. The suspect was currently in a local corner store buying cigarettes. The RCMP told the taxi driver to drive towards Calgary and the police would pull him over on the Trans Canada Highway and take the suspect into custody, which is what occurred.

The suspect pled “not guilty” and the trial in Calgary’s Court of Queen’s Bench was by judge and jury. Dog handler Scott Ward was called as a Crown witness and gave his testimony. The suspect’s lawyer cross-examined and asked him if he recognized a location in a photograph presented as evidence. The interaction between the defence lawyer and the dog handler went something along the lines of:

Defence lawyer: “Mr. Warden, can you tell the court what this picture is?”

Dog handler: “Yes, that is a picture of Lion’s Park.”

Defence lawyer “Is that where you tracked my client?”

Dog handler: “Yes, I tracked him right across Lion’s Park.”

Defence lawyer: “And what does that sign say to the right-hand side of the picture?”

Dog handler: “It says “No dogs allowed.”

The entire jury burst out laughing at the defence lawyer’s flimsy argument, and the suspect was subsequently convicted. 

Upon retirement Data was adopted by Ned’s Wish founder Stacey Talbot.  Although long gone, Data is fondly remembered by Stacey and her family as the most obedient and loyal dog.  That being said, if you didn’t want gnashing teeth clattering in your ear you wouldn’t dare try and get in Data’s vehicle.  It was in fact Data, Stacey’s first retired police dog, who first sparked the inspiration of Ned’s Wish!  Thank you Data for years of hard service and welcome to Ned’s Wish Hall of Famers!