RCMP Corporal Rick Bushey and Police Service Dog Tim, a six-year-old German Shepherd, have been partners for more than five years. They have answered gun calls, searched for explosives, and investigated crimes in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.
In February 2003, PSD Tim and Corporal Bushey were called in to track and bring down a violent suspect in North Kentville. A man brandishing a .303 calibre rifle had robbed a drug store and then fled in an SUV. Spotted by the police, the suspect left his vehicle and ran across a field into a heavily wooded area.
Cpl. Bushey and Tim arrived first on the scene. Tim picked up the suspect’s scent and began tracking him in the thick bush. As night fell, Tim closed in on the man hiding in a snowy recess in a stand of trees. Other officers arrived and surrounded the area.
The suspect, who had a record involving drugs and violence, was highly emotional. He was taking painkillers stolen from the drug store, and he was threatening to shoot the police officers and then himself.
The armed stand-off continued for about two hours, with the police trying to ?talk’ the man down. They gave him cigarettes and water, but he continued to ramble on despondently. At one point, the man panicked and went for his gun, forcing the officers to scramble for cover.
Something had to be done. When the gunman took a step away from his rifle, Cpl. Bushey knew this was their chance. He whispered a single word to his dog, and Tim sprang into action. In an instant, the dog hit the man’s chest and knocked him down … giving the police enough time to get to the suspect and cuff him.
Only Tim was fast enough in the deep snow to reach the suspect before anyone was hurt or killed. His courage and unquestioning loyalty helped protect his fellow officers, and may have prevented the suspect from turning the gun on himself.