Moose Jaw Police Dog True celebrated her fifth birthday back in March.
Const. Aaron Woods has been living and working with the female Belgian Malinois since 2019.
"Right from day one, we did a bonding process where she was with me 24 hours a day," explained Woods. "I hand-fed her for the first two weeks, so she knows where the food comes from, knows who's dad, she's my best buddy, my partner. She's with me all the time, even at home on days off, she's following me around if I'm working in the garage or in the yard, she's with me trying to help."
True, who is originally from Alberta, joined the Canine Unit in Prince Albert before making the move to Moose Jaw in 2019. Woods became interested in working with the Canine Unit here in Moose Jaw around that time.
"The basic training is about a 16 to 18-week course where we train all the profiles: tracking, obedience, agility, evidence, criminal apprehension," he explained. "We get tested on all the profiles and make sure we pass the provincial standard and validations. Once we've completed that, we hit the street."
Woods says that True is put into service in any situation where an officer could be put in danger. That includes weapons calls, domestics, break-and-enters and stolen vehicles.
"We respond to a lot of break-and-enter calls. She comes to any call that we might need the dog. Just having the dog's presence there too will actually deescalate things a lot of the time. We're out tracking people from crime scenes, we're tracking from stolen vehicles, we're tracking at-risk people who might be a danger to themselves or might need to be found and taken to the hospital. She's always there."
He adds having True on duty helps make his job safer.
"She's aware of things before we are. We could be looking for somebody in an area and she's already found them before we are aware that they're there. I can just tell from their body language, there's somebody here. That just gives us an edge, it gives us a heads up before we can take the situation and put it under our control instead of the bad guy's."
True competed in the Canadian Police Canine Association Championships last spring where she won first place overall for obedience, and a couple of third-place finishes for evidence detection and criminal apprehension.
Joining True in the Moose Jaw Canine Unit are a couple of German shepherds named Argo and Mace.
Woods and True took part in the April 20 session of Moose Jaw's Citizens' Police Academy, giving a demonstration in the parking garage.
A video of the demonstration can be found below: