- By Rebecca Frankel
Rebecca Frankel is deputy editor at Foreign Policy. She is the author of War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love a New York Times bestselling book about canines in combat, the subject of her regular Friday column "Rebecca's War Dog of the Week," featured on The Best Defense. She has appeared as a guest on Conan O'Brien, BBC World News, and the Diane Rehm Show among others.
By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent
On June 4, three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were gunned down when a reported madman went on a shooting spree in Mocton, a city in eastern Canada. K-9 handler Dennis Ross was one of the officers killed.
This week a funeral service was held for these officers and Ross’s canine partner, Danny, was in attendance. Photos of Danny at the service, like the one above, have been making headlines and pulling heartstrings. One report said that during the service, Danny "whimpered" by the casket and another reported that during the funeral process the dog "jumped up to sniff Ross’ RCMP stetson" as a final good-bye.
Danny, the three-year-old German Shepherd, was partnered with Ross in December 2012, though their formal training only began in April 2013. Though they weren’t together long, their bond was a strong one. Ross’s wife remarked on how close the pair was and said that she felt her husband would want his partner to keep on their work with another handler:
"’Anytime Danny barked at home, it would be to get Dave to open the truck door so they could go to work,’ she said. … ‘It wouldn’t be fair to Danny to retire him as he loved his work as much as Dave did.’"
Anyone who has had a dog knows that they grieve the loss of humans (and animals) they loved. These photos of Danny call to mind the footage of Hawkeye, the dog belonging to Jon Tumilson, a Navy Seal who "was killed in Afghanistan when his Chinook helicopter was hit by enemy fire on Aug. 6, ." During Tumilson’s funeral the dog "wandered over to his owner’s flag-draped coffin and lay beside it throughout the service."
A video titled "Danny’s Doing Well" posted on June 11, shows Danny chasing a ball in a stream — just being a young, happy dog.