Saluting and Remembering Working K-9’s of the Canadian Rockies

November 11th, a time to reflect and pay tribute to the soldiers who fought and sacrificed their lives for our freedom.   The Bow Valley SPCA would like pay homage to our K-9 heroes. Soldiering on, these brave and courageous dogs battling unpredictable elements, presented by Mother Nature, and time, which often is the enemy in finding survivors in Canada’s Rocky Mountains and surrounding rough terrain.  Not knowing the cause of danger to themselves these dogs use their instincts and skills combined with their loyalty and trust by their handler’s to guide them to complete rescues.  

K-9’s have been used for public safety reasons since the 1890’s the Canadian North being vast and under populated, dog sled’s provided theses services. Today K-9’s perform duties in criminal work and search and rescue.

Bow Valley K-9 Working Dogs

Blake

Bow Valley SPCA’s hero, Blake, a one-year-old male Shepherd Cross.

Found wandering in the mountains with  the ball  of his femur that fit into his Hip joint was broken off and he had not eaten for several weeks. Blake was rescued and became a BVSPCA resident dog.  Blake’s diagnosis was to amputate the leg or perform surgery.  Fundswere raised by BVSPCA for Blake’s successful surgery. Once healed Blake was adopted by a Canmore couple, Working Guides  Niki LePage and Paul Vidalin who live  in Canmore.  Blake went on to be trained in Mountain Rescue.   Now retired Blake volunteers with Niki an Animal Care Attendant at BVSPCA socializing resident dogs with volunteers and other resident dogs.

Cazz

Mike Henderson & Cazz  Parks Canada

Cazz is an RCMP breeding program shepherd with bloodlines from the Czech Republic. Cazz and Warden Henderson completed RCMP training, validating and becoming operational for Parks Canada in September 2011. Cazz is termed a “general duty police dog” – his profiles include tracking in both rural and urban settings, searching for people, evidence and firearms, searching for narcotics, criminal apprehension, and avalanche search.

Cazz who is now 6 ½ years old is Henderson’s 3rd operational K9, and has proven to be quite successful. Cazz has responded to numerous avalanche incidents, making 4 recoveries in the past 5 years. Cazz has tracked and apprehended subjects, assisted the local Detachments with multiple narcotics finds, located missing and despondent people, secured evidence and has been involved in highly technical searches including being called to the Waddington Range this summer and Polar Circus in 2015.

Cazz recently won a Parks Canada CEO Award for Exemplary Service for tracking and apprehending a fleeing criminal from a stolen vehicle. The track covered 6 km of forest along Bow River near Red Earth Creek and ended in a fight in the frigid November waters of the Bow.

Cazz and Henderson are now working on fall anti-poaching   duties and getting ready for the winter avalanche season.

Baillie

Baillie is a four year old, female, tri-Color Border collie.

She was born on a farm near Calgary. As a young puppy she was spotted by the Canmore Fire Chief, who is on Canada Task Force 2 (CAN-TF2), as having the attributes of a search dog. She was accepted as a "puppy-in-training" in 2013 and certified as a Public Safety Canada level II urban search and rescue disaster dog in 2015. She is one of a handful of urban disaster search dogs in Canada trained and certified to this national level. She is now a working member of CAN-TF2 and Canmore Fire-Rescue and has been deployed 6 times. Two of her most noticeable achievements were searching and clearing houses during the Canmore Flood and clearing 6 badly damaged houses during the large natural gas explosion in Canmore last year. Baillie is very friendly and loves licking everyone she meets. Her nickname is the "Bouncy Dog" because of the unique way she indicates a find by bouncing and barking.

Bow Valley SPCA salutes the bond of these K-9s and their handlers. Admired and recognized as a noble service in the Canadian Rockies ensuring public safety. 

Saluting:

  • Niki LePage/Paul Vadalin and their dog Blake
  • Mike Henderson and Cazz
  • Lt. Kit Huffer and Baillie
  • Warden Gord Peyto and his dog Baron
  • Warden Alfie Burstrom and his dog Ginger Alfie   (the first National Park's canine team.)
  • Warden Scott Ward and his dogs Gypsy/Smokey and Data
  • Warden Dale Portman and his dog Sam

'To travel in the company of animals is to walk with angels, guides, guardians, jesters, shadows and mirrors.'  … Suzanne Clothier