After nine years on the job, Caber — the Delta Police Department’s victim services accredited facility dog — has retired from active service.
The yellow Labrador retriever was Canada’s first accredited justice facility dog, paving the way for dogs to support victims in B.C. and Canadian courtrooms.
Over the course of his career, Caber directly supported 2,132 victims of crime and trauma and responded to countless incidents including house fires, domestic violence, sexual assaults, sudden deaths, suicides and homicides. Caber was instrumental in providing support to Delta students after local tragedies including the Laura Szendrei murder in September of 2010.
“Caber’s impact is far reaching, but it is, perhaps, most felt by the individuals who he comforted,” Caber’s handler, Kim Gramlich of DPD’s victim services section, said in a press release.
“Some of our clients I think about often are the boy who could only be consoled by Caber after learning of his father’s death, or the young girl who was only able to testify against her abusers because of Caber’s unfaltering support in court.”
Caber’s impact was felt beyond Delta. He and Gramlich provided integral support to Fort McMurray residents as they returned to the community after a month-long wildfire evacuation in 2016.
The team also responded to the mass shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas in 2017. Caber was one of eight dogs that worked alongside the FBI’s office for victims assistance, providing help to victims and families in the aftermath of the tragedy that claimed the lives of 58 people.
“Because Caber was the first of his kind in Canada, he became known in the department and on social media as ‘The Dogfather,’” DPD Chief Neil Dubord said in a press release. “His legacy is sure to be long and lasting.”
There are now over 46 justice facility dogs working from coast to coast across Canada.
Gramlich also founded Justice Facility Dogs Canada which provides support to justice facility dog programs across the country and advocates for the continued use of these dogs in Canadian courts.
“We are so proud of Caber; he has not only been an exceptional justice facility dog, he started it all,” Laura Watamanuk, executive director of Pacific Assistance Dog Society (PADS), said in a press release.
PADS is a non-profit charity that has served the community for over 32 years, providing dogs to individuals with disabilities and to community care professionals like Gramlich. PADS bred, raised and trained Caber, who is valued at approximately $35,000, and provided him to the Delta Police Department at no charge.
“Because of Kim’s efforts — with Caber at her side — justice facility dogs can now be found in victim services agencies all across the country. They meet people on their very worst day, helping them face it with hope and a gentle friend. We look forward to following Caber’s retirement adventures, and sincerely hope his days are filled with walks, bananas and all the belly rubs he so deserves,” Watamanuk said.
In a press release, the DPD expressed its gratitude to PADS for placing Caber in the department’s program.
“Caber was the ideal dog for this difficult work. He is extremely calm and comforting. He could sit for long periods of time in a courtroom and provided unconditional affection to those he served” Gramlich said.
Caber’s good work will continue with the PADS successor dog — a two-year-old golden retriever named Puma — who joined the DPD’s ranks on Monday, Oct. 7.
During a gathering for Caber’s retirement, Gramlich removed his working cape for the last time and he was presented with several bananas and a retirement dog cake.
At the same ceremony, Dubord swore-in Puma and presented her with her DPD badge.
For more information about PADS and to watch a seven-minute video looking back over Caber’s career, visit pads.ca/caber.