The Ponoka RCMP detachment has said goodbye to their police dog trainee Maja and welcomed a new pup to the team.
Maja is now continuing her development with a civilian agency in B.C. as a single profile search dog.
The placement was “one of several possible outcomes,” said Cst. Patrick O’Neill of the Ponoka RCMP.
Cst. O’Neill was Maja’s handler in the RCMP imprinting program. She was with him at the Ponoka RCMP detachment for 11 months.
At the end of her training, Maja was deemed more suitable as a specialty dog and now could serve in any number of possible agencies, such as search and rescue.
O’Neill has now begun working with Neutron, a 15-week-old German Shepherd male in the police service dog imprinting program. Neutron arrived in December, 2020.
“So far he’s a lot of fun to have around.” said O’Neill.
Right now, Neutron is working on the basics, getting used to his environment and socializing a little, says O’Neill.
When the weather is warmer and he’s a bit older, they will begin working on things like tracking and more challenging training.
Cst. O’Neill is hoping to eventually become a full-time RCMP police dog handler, but there is a long waiting list and staffing factors to consider before his number will be up.
Once selected, he could be posted anywhere in Canada, working with canines in a police dog service unit.
Ponoka residents may see Cst. O’Neill and Neutron walking or training in the community. They are welcome to say hello, however, the RCMP asks that the public keep a respectful distance.
Ponoka detachment Staff Sgt. Chris Smiley thanks citizens who have been interested in seeing the dogs out in the community and for their support in continuing to respect the space and boundaries necessary for the development of the puppies during their early years as a police service dog.