Marnie Neal, the handler for the Surrey RCMP’s Victim Services Dog Cambria, and Brian Aasebo, the Surrey RCMP Intervention programs manager during the the introduction of Cambria. The labrador-golden retriever mix began working with the Surrey RCMP four months ago. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

VIDEO: ‘The dog picks the job’: Meet the newest member of the Surrey RCMP

Cambria, a labrador-golden retriever mix, is the first victim services dog at the detachment

Meet Cambria, the Surrey RCMP’s newest member.

The Labrador-golden retriever mix started with the Surrey RCMP in its Victim Services Unit four months ago. She is an accredited facility dog, meant “to be soothing for victims and witnesses of crime and trauma,” according to the Surrey RCMP.

Cambria’s primary role, RCMP said, is “to support clients when they are providing statements, attend critical incident debriefs, perform check-ins with clients, serve as a testimonial aid in court, and support people while they are completing victim impact statements.”

Cambria, who is the Surrey RCMP’s first facility dog, works with her handler Marnie Neal.

“She seems to sense who the person is who’s having the most difficulty, and she’ll go over to them and she’ll engage with the person and then after a minute or two, then she calms down and she sits pressing on their feet and that helps relax people,” Neal said.

Brian Aasebo, Surrey RCMP Intervention Programs manager, said when he began overseeing the Victim Services Unit, it was brought to his attention “the value” of introducing a facility dog.

“Not surprisingly, it was a unanimous buy-in from both city and RCMP senior management,” he said. From there, the RCMP sent in an application to Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) to get a dog.

“It wasn’t actually until meeting Cambria, and hearing about some of the interactions she’s had with the clients in a short time period that I really comprehended the true value,” Aasebo said.

In her four months at the detachment, Aasebo said Cambria has “supported over 200 internal (and) external clients” in situations such as family meetings following a fatal collision, a large community debrief in response to a fatal hit-and-run for a pedestrian who lived in a care home, a home visit to a Surrey teenager who was the victim of a stranger assault and a “a child victim of sexual assault who wasn’t really engaged in the process until Cambria came by her side.”

READ ALSO: Senior dies after Surrey hit-and-run, Oct. 2, 2018

READ ALSO: Senior dies after being hit by car in Surrey, Oct. 1, 2018

PADS executive director Laura Watamanuk said the society “often” comes across dogs like Cambria who “have a very empathetic nature,” who are “drawn to emotions, drawn to people that are very upset and what she wants to do is just go and be close to them and help soothe their soul.”

“The dog picks the job,” she said.

Watamanuk said dogs like Cambria are difficult to come by because the handlers are asking the dogs to go out into the community, “into a crisis-type situation,” and be drawn to the emotion and want to help somebody. But when the dog’s work is done for the day, Watamanuk said, the most important aspect is that the dogs are able to recover from all the emotions.

“Most dogs will take on the emotions and the feelings of their owners. If you’re happy and excited, your dog is going to be happy and excited. If you’re sad, your dog is going to see that and take on your emotions. Dogs that we place within police victim services, or a child-crisis intervention, those are dogs that are going into high-tension environments.”

Neal said when Cambria is at home, she’s like “a regular dog.”

“I think of her like a trauma sponge. She goes to the people and they can just release all that energy into her and then when she goes home, she goes out to the backyard and she scampers around and plays and just releases that energy.”

READ ALSO: Fraser Health introduces first hospital ‘trauma dog’ in B.C., Oct. 12, 2017

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Just Posted

Saddle bronc rider earns highest score in Cloverdale Rodeo’s history

In 73 years, no one had achieved a 94 in saddle bronc —until last night

Structure fire destroys Surrey tire shop, closes section of Fraser Highway

RCMP have closed Fraser Highway down to traffic from 152 Street to 88 Avenue

Surrey RCMP search for missing 17-year-old girl

Mikayla Logan was last seen in Guildford on Tuesday, May 14

COLUMN: ‘Smart growth’ lacking in Surrey

Surrey council’s approval of infrastructure projects in the Tynehead area shows the… Continue reading

GALLERY: Cloverdale Rodeo Parade brings thousands through the town centre

From ponies to hot rods, the 73rd annual parade had it all

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Multi-vehicle collision on highway in Chilliwack

Accident involves several vehicles, in the westbound lanes says Drive BC

Man dies after being hit by car in East Vancouver

The driver involved is cooperating with police

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Most Read

l -->