Beasse's Bambi's Bandit was born February 18, 1986, one of two puppies selected by the Edmonton Police Service Dog Unit. My wife and I were painting the interior of the house when I received the call from the Sergeant I/C Dog Unit to attend the Central Kennels and pick up my dog.
Enroute to the kennels, my mind was racing to pick just the right name, I finally selected "TITUS", and took my future PSD prospect home. Titus was, as expected, very playful and mischievous. We began our basic training in August of 1987 and completed and passed required testing in October. Titus had picked up the nickname "Punchout" from my trainer Sgt. Greg Martin, because with maturity, he had developed two black circles around his eyes.
Our first apprehension came within the first month of street duty. A "Peeping Tom complaint" was received and after a track through an embankment and residential area, we discovered two male suspects prying a window. Both of them ran when they saw me. We had simulated this scenario in training, but I couldn't believe my first "catch" may involve an apprehension of this nature. Titus grabbed hold of the subject's jean jacket and held on for dear life. It wasn't a perfect apprehension, but an apprehension all the same.
On August 27, 1989, just prior to midnight, an armed robbery was reported from a south side convenience store. Two men with knives had entered and demanded money, leaving after tying up the clerk. The two suspects jumped into a waiting Fiero and sped off. Within minutes, several patrol cars were in the immediate area, spotted the red Fiero, and a chase began. The pursuit concluded with the Fiero hitting a dead end on the service road just off the Capilano Freeway and 101 Avenue. The two occupants fled; however, the passenger was apprehended immediately. The driver continued to run southbound along the east side of 75 Street.
I had been involved in the pursuit, and released Titus on the running suspect. As I did, the suspect turned and ran across 75 Street. Titus had just reached the subject and jumped up to apprehend him when both were struck by a vehicle travelling south on 75 Street.
The visual aftermath remains in my memory: Titus and the suspect began sliding down the street. I remember thinking, "Boy, he's sure gonna be confused when he stops", referring to Titus. "I'll have to calm him down and make sure he's OK". When Titus came to a stop, he did not get up, confused and disorientated as I expected. He remained motionless, with the subject laying a few feet away. I ran to Titus and checked his vital signs. He was not breathing and had a very faint heart beat.
Cst. Colin Quast, another dog handler, arrived moments later. He commandeered a patrol unit and I lifted Titus into the back seat. Colin called ahead to the Emergency Vet Clinic, and en route Titus' heart stopped beating. We arrived at the Emergency Vet Clinic and I laid Titus on the examination table. His head rolled to the side and blood poured from his mouth. The veterinarian confirmed resuscitation was useless. I said my last words to Titus, the picture of him laying on the table emblazoned in my memory.
Upon writing this article, the tears and feelings of emptiness returned. I had always looked forward to the day when Titus was going to retire and become a house pet. Unfortunately, that day never arrived. He maintains a special spot in my wife Lanita's and my heart.
I would like to thank the members of the Edmonton Police Service Dog Unit for allowing me to share my story of Titus. Although my tears have swelled, so has my pride for being involved in the history of the Dog Unit.
By Randy Schreiner