Police Service Dog Hitch posing in a field before a night shift. (Saanich PD K9/Twitter)

Even police dogs get a summer vacation

Members of the Saanich Police K9 Unit tag along on their handlers vacations

Summer vacation means lake days, sunshine and relaxation. Hitch, a police service dog (PSD) with the Saanich Police Department, is checking all the boxes while on his annual vacation days at Shuswap Lake this year.

Despite being employees, the police service dogs get paid in treats and don’t actually get their own vacation days. However, they do get to tag along when their human partners go out of town, explained Sgt. Julie Fast, public information officer for the Saanich Police.

The time off is more for the handlers because the dogs are so motivated that they would happily work 24/7 if they could, said Fast with a laugh.

Police service dogs are working dogs, but they live with their handler and the handler’s family. If the family vacation involves a flight, the PSD will stay with another handler, but if it’s feasible they’ll join in on the family vacation. Lucky for Hitch, his family chose a road trip which allowed him to join them at Shuswap Lake. He’s currently lounging by the water and playing fetch with his handler, Const. Ken Mead.

READ ALSO: Saanich police penalize 72-year-old for ‘too many’ distracted driving infractions

READ ALSO: West Shore RCMP police dog sniffs out suspect in View Royal

There are currently four police service dogs and four handlers in the Saanich Police K9 Unit and they work on a rotating schedule, Fast explained. The dogs and handlers form a strong bond because they’re always together. Sometimes they’ll even retire together as partners.

Handler positions are highly competitive, said Fast, and the application process is lengthy due to the high standards. It’s also a big commitment for the handler and for their family as they will need to accommodate the dog and live close enough to the city so they can be on scene in a timely manner if they get called out, she explained.

However, the handlers are passionate and work hard to earn the positions, said Fast.

“It’s not for everybody,” she pointed out. “It takes a special person.”


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Crews respond to medical incident on West Saanich Road

Incident appears to be cleared, witnesses say

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read