Cst. Kevin Rutten hangs out with his partner Bak. Bak will retire from the RCMP’s canine unit Sept. 18.

Cst. Kevin Rutten hangs out with his partner Bak. Bak will retire from the RCMP’s canine unit Sept. 18.

Bak retires from line of duty

Member of North Okanagan RCMP's canine unit retiring

He’s helped reunite families, while also bringing thieves to justice. But life on the beat will soon come to an end.

Bak, an eight-and-a-half-year-old German shepherd, will retire from the RCMP’s canine unit Sept. 18. He has been part of the force since a pup in 2003 and based out of the Vernon detachment since 2006.

“Seven years he has worked and by dog handler standards, that’s a full career,” said his partner Cst. Kevin Rutten.

“We want to retire him while he’s in reasonably good shape. It’s hard, physically demanding work running and jumping.”

Bak’s teeth are also starting to wear down from apprehending suspects.

Rutten raised Bak as a pup and they began official duties in Prince George in 2004.

Among their most memorable cases are looking for missing people.

“We’ve been fortunate to locate a few live missing people who wouldn’t have been located without the help of a dog,” said Rutten.

In another case, the pair was securing a marijuana grow-op near Enderby.

“I could hear branches snapping and I saw two suspects running. I ordered them to stop and they didn’t,” said Rutten.

Rutten then released Bak and that forced one of the suspects to give themselves up immediately. Bak pursued the second individual and stopped him.

“We walked out of the bush with two guys in hand,” said Rutten.

While their professional career winds down, Bak will find a permanent place at Rutten’s home.

“The bond is the biggest thing,” said Rutten.

“We’ve been through a lot together in my personal and career life. I’ve known him longer than my wife.”

Rutten is already training his new partner, Cain, a 15-month-old shepherd.

There are three police dogs locally which cover from Vernon to Revelstoke and from Falkland to the Arrow Lakes.

 

“They do contribute to the successful conclusion of a lot of files. They are definitely valuable,” said Rutten.