On a Personal Note: You told me to shut up

Columbia Valley RCMP Staff Sgt. Marko Shehovac shares his stories of policing and life.

Corporal Phil Sullivan, our police dog officer, during our recent open house shared a story with me over lunch about an incident with his previous dog, Bo. I assured him the story would remain in my confidence. Bo was an excellent, aggressive police dog. When not working, Bo, the big tough police dog, stays with Phil and his family in his home. As a police dog, he is not treated like a normal pet in the neighbourhood and allowed to go out and play with all the other dogs and people in the ‘hood. Any animal or person using his street, his sidewalk would receive the wrath of his authority in loud, aggressive barks. Phil took notice of this behaviour and, on one particular occasion, had to discipline Bo and put him in his place. Bottom line to Bo was, ‘Keep your mouth shut.’ Phil had to clue Bo in that when he’s working, it’s his street, his sidewalk, but at home he’s just another dog enjoying the day off like any other dog. When a police dog is disciplined for not behaving, they pretty much get it. Bo happens to have his pen outside near the garage where the family car is parked. One particular morning around 5 a.m., Phil receives a call from police dispatch wondering why the police are involved in a high speed chase with his wife’s car. Impossible, Phil replies, as he walks to the window to confirm his wife’s car is parked… no, it’s gone, stolen. Phil goes outside and sees the broken glass on the ground. Bo, of course, is sitting up alert to the fact Phil is outside. I have no doubt, if he could as police dogs are pretty smart, he would have used sign language to say, “You told me to shut up, so I shut up.”  Off Phil and Bo go to join the chase to retrieve the family car. With lights and sirens blaring, Bo is now barking up a storm.