Fire department mourns loss of search dog
Published Wednesday, September 2, 2009 6:47PM PDT
The Vancouver fire department held a memorial service Wednesday for a search and rescue dog that had served with the department for 11 years.
Thirteen-year-old Barkley, who had worked for Vancouver Fire and Rescue and the city's urban search and rescue team, died after a short battle with prostate cancer.
The golden retriever took part in a number of high-profile events, including searching for survivors in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005,
That same year, he helped search through the debris of a North Vancouver mudslide that killed one woman and destroyed two homes.
Fire Chief John McKearney said Barkley was also instrumental in helping solve four homicides.
Barkley's handler Flynn Lamont was on hand at Thursday's memorial. Lamont and Barkley were rarely apart. They lived and trained together.
"We introduced him to a lot of people as a young puppy. That's what you need to do with a search and rescue dog. They need to love humans in order to hunt for them," Lamont said.
During Wednesday's memorial, several commemorative pictures of Barkley were unveiled. It was hard for Lamont not to get choked up.
Barkley's legacy will be carried on by his offspring, Cooper, who is also a rescue dog. Lamont says Cooper shares Barkley's drive - and his love of tennis balls.
"We expect the tradition to continue," Lamont said. "He's a lot like his dad. As much as I am heartbroken to lose my first dog, we will continue on."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Leah Hendry