Retired Police Service Dog Ecko is affectionately nicknamed “Swamp Rat” because of his talent for finding the muddiest body of water and lying in it. In his retirement Echo picked up a few new hobbies: hiking, swimming and adventuring. To show his appreciation to his “hoomans”, Echo rewards them with gigantic sticks he brings home after his adventures.
PSD Ecko #964 was born on June 12, 2012, in Innisfail, Alberta. After graduating from the RCMP’s Police Dog Service Training Centre in 2014, he and his handler Cpl. Mike Zinck returned to Wetaskiwin, Alberta. Ecko is highly trained in obedience and agility. He also excelled at searching for human scented articles, or “evidence”, firearms, and drugs. However, Ecko’s favourite pursuit was tracking and finding criminals and missing persons.
One of Ecko’s first big calls came in November 2014, when he tracked and apprehended a serial arsonist who caused more than $5 million in damage over a 10-month-long arson spree.
Ecko and Cpl Zinck transferred to Calgary, Alberta, in 2015 where they continued their service supporting Southern Alberta communities. In December 2015, Ecko was called to duty when Hanna and Brooks RCMP were involved in a lengthy police pursuit with a suspect who had broken into several homes and stole multiple firearms. Following a vehicle chase, the suspect abandoned his car and fled on foot through frozen farmer’s fields in -25°C weather. Ecko and Cpl Zinck tracked the suspect for nearly four hours through the winter night and recovered one of the stolen firearms along the way. In the end, they caught the suspect. While Cpl Zinck took several days to recover from the long and cold track, Ecko was ready to work the very next day.
In Dec 2017, Ecko and Cpl Zinck were called to assist Gleichen RCMP with locating two suspects who broke into a house, stabbed the homeowner, and fled on foot. Ecko quickly located the suspects’ track and led police to a nearby house. Once police surrounded the residence, Ecko transitioned from tracking to methodically searching the house, quickly locating the two suspects hiding inside a locked room.
One of Ecko’s last catches was in Jan 2019, when he was called into action in Cochrane, Alberta. A homeowner was bear spayed after confronting two would-be car thieves. Once again, Ecko was quick to locate the suspects’ track and pursued it through the neighbourhood, before locating them inside another vehicle while attempting to steal it.
Ecko had a very successful career catching “bad guys”, locating missing people, illegally possessed drugs, and crucial evidence. He was well known by the police officers he worked with as being very driven and at times intimidating while working. However, Ecko had a soft side too; he adored people (when not in “work” mode) and was very social. Ecko performed many public demonstrations and spent a considerable amount of time visiting students at various schools. Ecko’s second home was the Airdrie Detachment, where he loved chasing his ball around the office and visiting with staff. It was said that Ecko’s kind and gentle demeanour helped a few people overcome their fear of dogs. Towards the end of Ecko’s career, he underwent major back and dental surgery, which required lots of “indoor” time during his recovery. Ecko was quick to adjust to being a house dog and never looked back. He retired shortly thereafter, and was given his forever retirement home by Jenell Kranz, whom he lives with today.
The loyal, protective, and affectionate traits that Ecko evidenced in his career have been carried through to his retirement. He brings great joy to his retirement partner in the form of cuddles, hikes (where he often finds and alerts to discarded human relics, like shoes or shirts), and an abiding sense of joy and curiosity for everyday activities. He particularly enjoys swimming.
Ecko spends his retirement meeting new dog friends, chasing balls and sticks, sleeping in, and being fed delicious treats; a well deserved reward for his years of faithful service and companionship.