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An RCMP officer in uniform poses with a dog.

Officers take in foster dogs during pandemic

Some RCMP officers in Grande Prairie are caring for foster dogs and training them to get ready for a permanent home. Credit: RCMP


A handful of RCMP officers in Grande Prairie, Alta., have taken in foster dogs during the COVID-19 pandemic to help the pets get ready for a forever home.

Cst. Patrick McPhee, who's fostered over 40 dogs in six years, encouraged other officers with the Grande Prairie detachment to take in foster pets to help the Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue cope with the pandemic. The shelter was strained as it had to limit its volunteer staff while public health orders were in effect.

"I really wanted to give back to the community," says McPhee, who started fostering dogs while working in High River, Alta., and continued when posted to Grande Prairie. "That's why I got into fostering."

The rescue center takes in dogs from all walks of life and sometimes the animals need some help before they're ready for adoption.

"In a lot of cases, the dogs that members have taken on were under-socialized so they did require a little extra attention," says Natasha Arsenault, who runs the Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue.

Fostering involves caring for the animals and providing some training to help the pets prepare for adoption and life at a permanent home.

Six officers in Grande Prairie took in foster dogs. Those who couldn't foster are supporting their colleagues by stopping to let the dogs outside or take them for a quick walk while the fostering members are busy on duty.

"I'm pretty amazed by the amount of teamwork that happened," says McPhee.

Cst. Bryn Jordan took in a five-month-old Sheppard mix named Bexley that came to Bandaged Paws from northern Alberta.

"I thought it wouldn't hurt to take in a dog and give back a little," says Jordan. "Bexley was easy to train and gets along well with my other dog."

Jordan is considered a 'foster fail' but only because he decided to adopt the dog he was fostering.

"He's just a sweetheart," says Jordan. "It was a little hectic at first, but he's calmed down and I'm used to the routine at this point."

Fostering dogs is only one of the many ways RCMP officers in Grande Prairie support the community.

"We're really grateful that the members stepped up to help us," says Arsenault. "They're trusted people in the community."

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