Police in Delta are mourning the passing of one of their own, a four-legged trailblazer who provided comfort to victims of crime and paved the way for other dogs to support victims in courtrooms across Canada.
Caber, a retired yellow Labrador retriever who served with the Delta Police Department’s Victim Services for nine years, died on Aug. 18 at 15 years old.
In addition to his service with the DPD, Caber was the first accredited Justice Facility Dog not just in Canada but the world, supporting witnesses and victims on the stand while they provided evidence. Because of his work, more than 70 Justice Facility Dogs across Canada are now providing support to those who need it.
Over the course of his career, Caber directly helped 2,132 victims of crime and trauma and responded to countless incidents including house fires, domestic violence, sexual assaults, sudden deaths, suicides and homicides, providing stability for many who needed a supporting hand.
He was instrumental in providing support to Delta students after local tragedies, including the murder of Laura Szendrei in 2010.
But Caber’s work was not limited to Delta, or even the Lower Mainland. He and his handler, DPD Victim Services co-ordinator Kim Gramlich, travelled to Fort McMurray after the 2016 wildfire to support residents coping with the devastation.
They 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.
After an exemplary career, Caber retired from duty on Oct. 7, 2019. In a ceremony at DPD headquarters in Ladner, Gramlich removed his working cape for the last time and he was presented with several bananas and a retirement dog cake. He was succeeded by Puma, a golden retriever who was sworn in on the same day her predecessor retired.
“Caber held a special place in the DPD family. Besides coming into work for his official duties, Caber also naturally offered comfort and support to our team. To Caber’s handler and mom, Kim, your DPD family offers our sincerest condolences on Caber’s passing,” the department said in a press release.
“As we remember and celebrate Caber’s life, we are reminded of the profound difference one dog, paired with a dedicated handler, can make in countless lives. Let’s cherish these memories, appreciate his exceptional journey, and pay respect to the enduring legacy he leaves behind.”