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Labrador’s first police dog retires

Charlie has been slowly easing into retirement and has already claimed the Muzzerall family sofa as his own.
Charlie has been slowly easing into retirement and has already claimed the Muzzerall family sofa as his own. - Evan Careen

Charlie recognized for dedicated career

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY

RCMP police service dog Charlie had quite the sendoff at the Happy Valley-Goose Bay detachment last week.

Cpl. Jason Muzzerall, left, and police dog Charlie listening to Inspector Jim Elliott talk of Charlie’s many accomplishments.
Cpl. Jason Muzzerall, left, and police dog Charlie listening to Inspector Jim Elliott talk of Charlie’s many accomplishments.

Inspector Jim Elliott gave Charlie a plaque for his seven years of service (just over four decades in human years), remarking it was his first retirement party for a dog.

“Charlie has tracked and caught dozens of people over his career and removed a large quantity of drugs off the streets and assisted in seizing tens of thousands of dollars in criminal proceeds throughout his career,” Elliott said. “Charlie has done all of this just for the attention of his handler, a bowl of food and a rubber toy to play with.”

Charlie and his handler, Cpl. Jason Muzzerall were paired together for all of their career so far, and the special dog will now retire to live with Muzzerall’s family. They were stationed to Thompson, Manitoba for four years before coming to Happy Valley-Goose Bay in 2015.

Charlie, the first police dog ever in Labrador, made numerous appearances at schools and helped track down a lot of people over his time at the local detachment.

Muzzerall said it will certainly be different working with another dog, since he and Charlie have worked together since Charlie was a puppy.

“It made the training a lot easier,” he said. “He went into training at 18 months old. Because we have that bond and relationship it went smoother.”

When asked about the highlights of Charlie’s career, Muzzerall said there were so many times Charlie amazed him, whether it was finding drugs hidden in panels of a car to finding items hidden behind walls in homes.

But it was Charlie himself that impressed Muzzerall most.

“The thing I enjoy about Charlie is the discipline and control he has as a working dog,” he said. “He’s caught a lot of people but he’s only ever made contact with two.

“We developed that level of training where I have that control over him and that can only be developed with mutual respect.”

Muzzerall will now be paired with another police dog, Jerry, but is looking forward to helping Charlie enjoy his retirement.

“He claimed the couch already,” Muzzerall said with a laugh. “When he first came into the house he jumped up on it and stretched out and it’s kind of his place now.”

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