Condolences are being offered for former Nova Scotia RCMP police service dog, Baylee.
The German shepherd worked with police for seven years before retirement in 2018. Baylee's handler, Const. Brent Bates, said she died Thursday. They had been together for nine years. He said she was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure in July and slowly declined. She would have turned 11 in November.
"She was a fantastic dog to work with, she had the right personality where at work she was very serious and driven and just never gave up and just kept chasing and working until the found the bad guy or found the missing kid," Bates said.
"But once she was off duty, she was kind of the perfect friend. She lived in my house. She was one of those dogs you could literally take to a kindergarten class and just let her run loose and not have to worry about her."
In a Facebook post announcing her retirement in 2018, RCMP noted she responded to 3,100 calls for service, tracked 386 times, covered 424 kilometres and found 132 people.
Police say in 52 other instances, a suspect surrendered when they saw Baylee coming.
'Pointy end of the spear' in tracking Moncton shooter
RCMP say Baylee found murder suspects, violent robbery suspects and missing people. She was trained as an explosives detection dog and did security sweeps for prime ministers and members of the British royal family.
Baylee also helped track the man responsible for the Moncton shooting in 2014.
"We were part of the team that physically apprehended [the shooter] ... in my own personal belief, part of the reason I think he surrendered was because Baylee was barking so loudly at him," Bates said.
Bates said the shooter was in a wooded area and it was dark at the time. There was concern he would open fire on police since he would be able to spot them before they could spot him.
"The pointy end of the spear was Baylee. She was the first one into that backyard to look for him showing absolutely no fear."
Bates said Baylee had a natural instinct for sniffing out who was a friend and who was a foe. He said she was great when it came to finding missing people, especially children. The youngest child she helped find was four, Bates said.
Sniffing out friends and foes
Another time, Bates said Baylee helped find a person with Down syndrome and helped put him at ease.
"He was hiding from searchers who were trying to find him so the only way we found him was with Baylee. Once Baylee went up and licked him, he was proud and I let him hold the leash and walk Baylee out of the woods," Bates said.
After her retirement, Baylee began helping Bates in presentations to new cadets in Saskatchewan. Bates shared updates on social media.
'A familiar face on searches'
On Twitter Saturday, Halifax Regional Police tweeted a condolence message about Baylee.
"Baylee worked closely with HRP K9 team for years. Our thoughts are with all who knew, loved & admired 'Baylee Bates.' Our deepest sympathies to her partner & guardian Cst Brent Bates & their loved ones," Halifax Regional Police said in the tweet.
On Friday, Halifax Search and Rescue also tweeted they were sad to learn of Baylee's passing.
"Baylee was a familiar face on searches & during #K9 training. She also appeared in the BICO cold weather video series. Thoughts are with her family as they go through this difficult loss," Halifax Search and Rescue said in the tweet.
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