Const. Britteny George is a Ridge Meadows RCMP officer who shares her personal story about becoming a dog handler. (The News files)

Const. Britteny George is a Ridge Meadows RCMP officer who shares her personal story about becoming a dog handler. (The News files)

This is a lifestyle and a life-long dream: local constable

The next in a series of personal profiles of local Ridge Meadows Mounties

Ridge Meadows RCMP is offering a profiles series that highlights the work and the people of the detachment. This is the latest instalment, a first-person narrative one of the constables.

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by Const. Britteny George/Special to The News

It has been a long, eight-year journey!

And what an adventure it has been.

The decision to go into policing was solely based on my upbringing.

I had a multitude of positive interactions with the local RCMP detachments in my community from a very young age that continued into my teenage years.

My dream for wanting to work with police dogs, however, came from an opportunity given to me by my great grandmother.

As happen stance would have it, I actually grew up close to the police dog training centre in Innisfail, Alta.

RECENT: New police service dog graduates into care of Ridge Meadows RCMP officer

As a little girl, my great grandmother would take me to the training centre to watch the demo’s that are run every Wednesday in the summer.

From the eyes of a small child, watching these dog handlers and their companions and the connection they had was something out of movies.

When I got into policing back in 2014, I came straight to the Ridge Meadows [RCMP] detachment and started my journey into the police dog services world.

To become a police dog handler, you have to complete a seven to 10 year voluntary internship program called the imprinting program. This is done completely separate from being a police officer.

During my years in this program I was responsible for raising five potential police service dogs (Jola, Kasper, Libby, Maverick, and Porter) and training with existing police dog handlers.

To provide a bit of perspective, in an eight-day period I would spend 45 hours working on the road as a frontline police officer and approximately 54 hours working for the imprinting program. This doesn’t include the vacation time I used to attend special training events.

Towards the end of my internship, I had to compete in a physical competition to earn a spot in the 2022 basic dog handler course. With a spot, I completed the 5.5-month-long basic dog handlers course at the police dog service training centre in Innisfail.

This was without a doubt the most challenging course I’ve ever completed within the RCMP.

FIRST IN SERIES: Ridge Meadows RCMP Profiles series: Being the New Guy

SECOND – Ridge Meadows RCMP Profiles series: Part 2

THIRD: RCMP staff sergeant living her truth – out and open

Through the years of working towards this life-long dream, I have had to make sacrifices every step of the way.

Time away from my husband.

Time away from my family.

Life decisions about what I wanted my future to look like pertaining to where we were going to live, when could we transfer back to my home province, and if we would be able to have children.

These are all things I found that no one ever talked about while in the program.

The time commitment was considerable and that’s usually what people focused on. However, its these sacrifices and decisions that I’ve found to be the most difficult.

This career isn’t just an aspiration or a fun gig.

This is a lifestyle, and a demanding one at that.

As a dog handler I will attend the most dynamic situations, knowingly deploying a partner I’m whole heartedly attached to, in order to protect myself, my fellow officers, and the public.

To ensure that everyone goes home safely we are constantly trying to prepare ourselves for what we may be subjected to.

RELATED: Newest deployment of B.C. police dogs already sniffing out crime

In order to do that, each training session Porter and I push ourselves.

During the last year and a half, Porter and I have developed a unique unspoken bond, we work for and with each other.

Having only been a full-fledged police service dog handler for one month, I can say with complete ease that I have the best job in the world.

What’s next for Porter and I? We have lots to learn!

PAST COVERAGE: Police dog in training in Maple Ridge

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Const. Britteny George is a Ridge Meadows RCMP officer who shares her personal story about becoming a dog handler. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)

Const. Britteny George is a Ridge Meadows RCMP officer who shares her personal story about becoming a dog handler. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)

Const. Britteny George is a Ridge Meadows RCMP officer who shares her personal story about becoming a dog handler. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)

Const. Britteny George is a Ridge Meadows RCMP officer who shares her personal story about becoming a dog handler. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)

Britteny George and her dog, Porter, were part of the 2022 graduating class of police service dogs. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)

Britteny George and her dog, Porter, were part of the 2022 graduating class of police service dogs. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)

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