RCMP in the East Kootenays are showing off their latest recruit, a canine focused on doing his best to help people survive their worst days.
West, a three-year-old black lab, officially joined the RCMP in Cranbrook and Kimberley as one of only five trauma dogs in B.C. and 25 across the country.
Jessica Robertson of Cranbrook/Kimberley RCMP Victim Services said West has already become an invaluable member of her team.
“I honestly can’t imagine doing what I do now without West and we’ve only had him for a few months,” she said.
As a puppy, West excelled in service dog training, demonstrating great concentration and restraint. After six months of advanced training, he was ready to help others get through the stress and pain of traumatic events.
“We do a lot of work with violence in relationships and domestic abuse,” Robertson said.
“He does work with a lot of women and children in that sort of environment, a lot with court.”
West’s mentor was Caber of Delta Police, who was Canada’s first victims services dog and the first canine used in a B.C. courtroom.
WATCH: Meet Caber the trauma dog
“It’s obviously very traumatic and some of the people are very young… they’re gonna be able to relate to the dog,” Kimberley RCMP Sgt. Chris Newel said. “It provides them the comfort they need to testify in what could be very difficult trials.”
“He’s done some amazing things so far so we expect a lot more amazing things to come from him,” Robertson said.
— With files from Kristen Robinson