Depending on Your Partner

During my career I’ve entrusted my life to other officers knowing those officers had my back.

It’s no different in the Dog Squad.

Even though my four-legged partner can’t talk, the two of us have our own lines of communication.  Any dog handler or long time dog owner knows what I’m talking about. 

A head twitch can mean the ‘bad guy’ is around the next corner, a very high tail can mean a cat is in the vicinity, and a nudge with his nose can mean my partner is playful or melencholy – depending on the lay of his ears. 

We’ve been in some tight spots, but by working together as a single unit we are able to get the job done.  I rely on his sense of smell, his keen sense of hearing, and his unwavering loyalty to do as I bid him.  He relies on me to be the ‘brains behind the braun’, to think about how we get deployed, and to keep us both as safe as possible.

Today, PSD Hondo relied on me in another way. 

We were assisting with the investigation of a serious crime, and had been called in to do a evidence/property search of an elevated garden in Downtown Vancouver.   We had just arrived at the scene and were making our way to the area to be searched when, for some reason, PSD Hondo vaulted the cement wall we were next to.

We were two stories up.

Above a concrete parkade.

I yelled, “No!”  as the officer behind me yelled at the same time, and I pulled back hard on Hondo’s leash.  Hondo caught his paws on the ledge, his ears went back and his eyes rolled in my direction.  I raced my hands up the leash, trying to keep Hondo on the ledge while trying to get close enough to grab him.  I was not quick enough. 

My partner disappeared over the edge.

The leash went taught.  I knew the collar around Hondo’s neck would act as a ligature, so I ran to the edge while trying to absorb the shock by leveraging my arms out.  I looked over and saw Hondo, writhing around like a fish, dangling in mid-air.

Pulling him back up was not an option.  He’d be strangled by his own body weight. 

So I let the leash burn through my hands and I lowered Hondo to the pavement below as quickly as possible.  Even at twenty feet the leash wasn’t quite long enough, and Hondo dropped the last few feet.   As soon as his paws touched down I told him to lay down.  He did so, his ears flat against his head.

I raced back through the building we had just come through and burst out through the parkade door.  Hondo was still laying there.  My hands flew over his neck, his shoulders and his legs. 

Physically, he was fine. 

Emotionally?  Well, if anyone tries to tell you dogs do not feel emotion then you tell them they are wrong.  Hondo shrunk his body against my legs.  He must have thought I was mad, but what he was reading was my fear. 

We had a few moments in that concrete parking lot.  I ruffled Hondo’s fur to reassure him everything was good, and he gave me an almost human expression of “Let’s NOT do that again, okay?”

A few minutes later we were back at work conducting our search, which ended in success.  Hondo’s reward for finding things is a game of tug-o-war, and let me tell you – no dog has ever seen such a great game of tug-o-war as my dog saw today.

Tags: , , , , ,

13 Responses to "Depending on Your Partner"

  • Chris says:
  • Meadowlark says:
  • Patrick says:
  • Jon says:
  • Rose says:
  • Coyote says:
  • Sandra says:
  • Roanoke Cop says:
  • DJ Motorcop says:
  • Sandra says:
  • Mark says: