Oct. 9, 2019
Victim Services K9 Caber retires, leaving impressive legacy
The baton, or perhaps the bone, has been passed this week at Delta Police Department. After nine dedicated years Caber, the Victim Services Accredited Facility Dog, has retired from active service.
Caber was Canada’s first justice facility dog, paving the way for dogs to support victims in BC and Canadian courtrooms. Over the course of his career Caber directly supported 2,132 victims of crime and trauma.
Caber responded to countless incidents of crime and trauma including: house fires, domestic violence, sexual assault, sudden death, suicide and homicide. He was instrumental in support provided to Delta students after local tragedies including the Laura Szendrei murder.
“Caber’s impact is far reaching but it is, perhaps, most felt by the individuals who he comforted,” says his handler, Kim Gramlich. “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.”
“Kim Gramlich and Caber are pioneers in establishing the Accredited Facility Dog program in B.C. As a team, they have helped, provided support and comfort to countless people in and out of the courtroom,” says Winston Sayson, Q.C., on behalf of Senior Crown Counsel.
Caber’s impact was felt beyond Delta, as he and Ms. Gramlich responded to the community of Fort McMurray after the 2016 wildfire. He provided integral support to citizens as they returned to the community after a month-long evacuation.
The team also responded to the 2017 Las Vegas, Route 91 mass casualty shooting. Caber was one of 8 dogs that worked alongside the FBI’s Office for Victims Assistance, providing help to victims and families in the aftermath of the tragedy.
“Because Caber was the first of his kind in Canada, he became known in the department and on social media as ‘The Dogfather’,” says Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord. “His legacy is sure to be long and lasting.”
There are now over 46 justice facility dogs working from coast to coast, across Canada. Ms. 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. 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 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,” says Laura Watamanuk, Pacific Assistance Dog Society (PADS) Executive Director.
The Delta Police Department is extremely grateful to PADS for placing Caber with our 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” says Ms. Gramlich.
PADS is a non-profit charity that has served the community for over 32 years. They provide dogs to individuals with disabilities and to community care professionals, like Ms. Gramlich. Caber was valued at approximately $35,000 and provided to DPD by PADS, at no charge.
Caber’s good work will continue with the PADS successor dog who joined our ranks on October 7th. PADS “Puma” is sure to carry on in Caber’s legacy. Puma is a 2 year old golden retriever.
During a gathering for Caber’s retirement his handler, Kim Gramlich, removed his working cape for the last time and he was presented with many bananas and a retirement dog cake. At the same ceremony Chief Neil Dubord swore in the new facility dog, Puma and presented her with her Delta Police badge.
A video about Caber’s career and information about PADS can be found at www.pads.ca/caber
Caber’s retirement video is linked above.
Puma’s swearing in video