Editor: Hi, it’s Mike Henderson and I’ve been your Parks Canada Warden/dog handler in the Bow Valley since succeeding Scotty Ward in 2000.
Parks Canada has been operating professional dog teams with police profiles since the early 1970s. It’s been an honour to work in this small cadre of handlers, training and validating at the RCMP Police Dog Training Centre, training RCMP and CARDA handlers in winter mountain travel and avalanche searching and working operations with some amazing K9 partners.
In 18 years of service, my three dogs have been on the sharp end of some very serious calls in both visitor safety and law enforcement incidents. The thing that gets missed at the end of a successful mission is the interwoven background of support required to make these PC K9 teams effective.
So, to mark the end of my PCK9 career, a big thank is required to so many people at so many levels.
To the executives within Parks Canada, who had the vision to establish and maintain a dog program.
Despite some very turbulent times, your commitment has kept us in business.
At the local level, managers have endured so much time away training and the operational costs of running K9 teams.
A big thank you to the kennel staff and trainers at the RCMP Training Centre in Innisfail. I can’t say enough to your dedication to producing high value teams to serve Canadians.
To the local RCMP detachments, K9 units, Fish and Wildlife and Conservation Officers, thank you for your trust and support.
To the local ski areas, despite corporate conflict, you’ve allowed dog teams to access your areas in pursuit of better avalanche response.
Thanks to Brian Spreadbury and his partner Patti for their compassionate care of our K9s during our vacations away.
For Banff dispatch and other dispatch centres, thank you for putting up with me during those early morning call outs.
For the amazing pilots, and ground support at Alpine Helicopters, thank you for so many safe missions.
As well, to the visitor safety teams in Parks Canada and K-Country, and the law enforcement and resource conservation crews, my family never doubted we would return home from every mission, which speaks volumes to your professionalism. Finally to my family – my parents who wondered if a Parks Canada dog handler was actually a career option and to my amazing wife Nadine, and my two girls Nevé and Marïke.
You’ve put up with so much.
We missed every conceivable holiday, come home tired and beat up, and you helped put us and our gear back together, ready for the next call.
Without your support, the success of PCK9s: Attila, Atar and Cazz never would have happened.
Best wishes to Warden Bennett and family as they continue forward on the PCK9 adventure.