INNISFAIL, Alta. – A police dog who tugged at heartstrings across the country when he rose on his hind legs at his slain partner’s funeral to sniff his Stetson is going back to work.
Danny the German shepherd has been spending time at the RCMP Police Dog Service Training centre in the central Alberta community of Innisfail.
Danny’s handler, Const. David Ross, was one of three officers shot and killed in Moncton, N.B., on June 4 by a man who has since pleaded guilty.
An RCMP spokesman says Danny has been at the training centre on and off this summer retraining and bonding with a new handler.
The two are expected to return to policing “in the near future.”
Insp. André Lemyre, officer in charge of RCMP police dog services, held a media event at the training centre Wednesday to update Danny’s status.
“There has been a public swell of interest in Danny and his future,” Lemyre said.
“I want to thank all Canadians for the support and compassion they’ve shared since the passing of our fallen members, and for Danny and his future.”
The RCMP would not reveal Danny’s new posting or any information pertaining to his new handler.
“What’s important now is that Danny and his new handler be given the opportunity to perform their duties to the highest standard,” said Lemyre, “We want to give them both every opportunity to succeed and thrive in their new partnership.”
Danny was born Sept. 7, 2011, at the training centre and at eight weeks of age was sent to Vancouver Island to be raised and imprinted by an RCMP member and aspiring dog handler.
In December 2012, after showing great potential, the dog was paired with Ross in Moncton and the two received their formal training at the centre.
Danny had been a working dog for less than 10 months when Ross was killed by Justin Bourque while RCMP responded to a call of a man in camouflage carrying a gun.
Constables Douglas Larche and Fabrice Gevaudan were also killed and two other officers were injured.
Lemyre said Danny is “first and foremost a police service dog.”
“He has confidence and is very driven … and it is expected that he will be able to continue his career as a police service dog for at least five more years.”
The widow of Ross said in the days following the funeral that it was important to allow her husband’s police dog to keep working. Rachael Ross said Danny loved his job as much as her husband did.