Happy One Year Anniversary K9 West!

Posted On Friday October 18, 2019
K9 West
K9 West

K9 West began his first official day with the Ottawa Police Service on October 18, 2018! Since then, he has helped us connect on a different level with some of the most vulnerable members of our community—victims and witnesses to crime and trauma. Likes: Stuffies, long naps and running off-leash with his dog friends. Dislikes: Waking up early or in the middle of the night, or rainy cold weather. In the course of his duties, he has assisted our Sexual Assault and Child Abuse (SACA) Unit with helping ease children into the interview process after a traumatic event, and was even on call to help those impacted by the tragic Westboro Station bus crash.

His calm and steady composure help the OPS with more sensitive files where trauma has occurred. Internally, he has provided steadfast support to members who engage in peer support sessions after a major or traumatic incident.

West’s ability to identify and empathize with persons expressing distress, sorrow or fear makes him a unique comforting presence and a distraction when it’s needed most.  He is a valued addition to the hard-working crisis counselors of the Ottawa Police Victim Crisis Unit.

West is 31-months-old and lives between two houses—those of his two handlers, Traci and Donna. Traci shares, “The most memorable experience I’ve witnessed was the emotionally powerful impact that he had on one of the OC Transpo crash victims, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is a young woman with remarkable resilience and adaptability. Elizabeth also has Down syndrome and her independence was threatened due to the impact of the collision. West was so attuned to her emotions and appeared to adapt his comforting behaviour to match her expressed need. West supported Elizabeth with her first visit to the crash site. He rode the bus with her to help her process the experience. As handler, I believe witnessing this exchange between them made me appreciate his value and his adaptability to meet the varied needs of victims.”

We are fur-ever grateful for K9 West’s contribution to the needs of those we encounter.