Hawk, the first victim assistance dog in Calgary retired on Friday after almost eight years of service. (Photo Credit – Calgary Police)
Raised and trained by the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) in Burnaby, BC, Hawk joined the Victim Assistance Response Team in October 2013 after staff on the team learned about the success of two similar dogs in BC and central Alberta.
Over the course of his career, Hawk was a valuable resource to many of our community partners who work with both children and adults, the Calgary Police said in a statement.
He supported victims through the Calgary Sexual Assault Response Team, Alberta Children’s Hospital, the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre, Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse, and both local school boards.
The statement further added “Hawk was also an integral part of our family at the Calgary Police Service. He supported victims as they told their story to the media at Police Headquarters, supported many of our youth programs and even attended difficult debriefings with our own members after traumatic events.”
However, one of the greatest achievements of Hawk’s career remains the successful application put forward by the Crown Prosecution Service, in partnership with us, to have courts recognize victim assistance dogs as an allowable support during witness and victim testimony, the Calgary Police added.
Superintendent Asif Rashid with the Calgary Police Service said “Hawk has had an exceptional career, but what we are celebrating today is really more than just what he contributed. His accomplishments are truly a testament to the vision of the people around him who have worked so hard over the years to get him where he was needed.”
To celebrate all the achievements of the Victim Assistance Support Team over Hawk’s career, a small retirement ceremony was held on Friday morning outside Police Headquarters with representatives from PADS, the Calgary Humane Society, the Crown Prosecution Service and the members of our Service who have worked tirelessly to make the victim assistance dog program what it is today.
The Calgary Humane Society presented Hawk with a medal honouring his significant contributions to people in need of comfort, the Calgary Police said, adding that Hawk has been adopted by his last handler and will now get to enjoy all the comforts of being a family pet.