Cargo, the RCMP police dog who figured in several stories of canine courage in Chilliwack, has died.
RCMP Const. Michael Jordan had taken Cargo out for his post-shift run Dec. 10 when he noticed the nine-year-old dog was lacking energy and seemed to have some internal distress.
Jordan immediately took Cargo to the nearest vet, who found he was riddled with cancer.
“Shortly thereafter, Cargo passed away,” RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said in a news release.
Cargo was set to retire in January 2012, Thiessen said, when he would have gone from a working dog to a family pet.
But Jordan said police service dogs love their work.
“Cargo worked right up until the end without hesitation and with no previous signs of illness,” Jordan said.
“He’s been a great companion and partner as we have done a lot together and he will be greatly missed,” Jordan said.
Thiessen said Cargo and Jordan trained together in 2005 and have been working together in Chilliwack since 2006.
As part of the RCMP breeding program, Cargo sired 20 litters with the last litter of pups arriving in May this year.
Cargo has numerous offspring working within the Police Dog Service across Canada, Thiessen said, including a few in the Lower Mainland’s Integrated Police Dog Service.
Cargo had an extensive service history, he said, and was involved in events like the 2006 G8/G20 Summit, the NATO Summit, and the 2010 Olympic Games.
Cargo was also an explosives specialist and often worked with the Emergency Response Team.
He was even the guard dog for Prime Minister Harper on several occasions, Thiessen said, and starred in RCMP recruitment commercials seen in movie theatres before the film trailers.
In B.C., Jordan and Cargo worked on the EnCana pipeline bombings in Dawson Creek and Cargo tracked and caught a suspect who had killed an innocent victim.
Cargo also caught several bank robbers and a taxi cab robber in Chilliwack.
This summer, Cargo located a missing Chilliwack senior suffering from Alzheimer’s in less than 30 minutes, saving her from any harm she might have otherwise encountered.
In 2007, Cargo took down a syringe-wielding man who had robbed a Chilliwack taxi driver.
Const. Lea-Anne Dunlop, RCMP media liaison officer at the time, said Jordan and Cargo were on the scene in less than 10 minutes and tracked the suspect to Edward Street near the hospital where he was arrested half an hour later.
But not without a fight.
“The male appeared to be high at the time, and he tried to fight with the dog,” Dunlop said.
The suspect, a 23-year-old transient, was arrested and taken to hospital with puncture wounds in his arms from the fight with Cargo.
“Police dog handlers and their dogs attend to calls of this nature frequently, and place themselves in harm’s way to help keep our communities safe, often while much of the community is safe at home in their beds for the night,” Dunlop said.
“This is a clear example of excellent police work in apprehending this suspect who posed a great threat to public safety,” she said.
Thiessen said Cargo has been cremated and his ashes will stay with Const. Jordan and his family.