by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04 Ph.D.
In early 2007, Corporal Tim Baulkham of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or RCMP, knew something wasn’t right with his partner. Police Service Dog “Jack,” a black lab and 7-year veteran on the force, had been losing weight and fur, and was not his usual energetic self. After a visit to a local veterinarian, Jack was referred to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. An MRI revealed what appeared to be a very large pituitary tumor.
Large tumors, such as Jack’s, are generally treated with low doses of radiation over 3 to 4 weeks. At WSU, radiosurgery, an innovative treatment using a one-time dose of radiation, has been used with great success. For Jack, the expedited treatment meant he could return to work sooner.
Dr. Janean Fidel, a WSU oncologist who specializes in radiosurgery, administered a single high dose of radiation to Jack’s tumor. But because of the size of the tumor, it was uncertain whether a single dose would work.
“Jack is a legend. I owe my life to this dog.”
— Corporal Tim Baulkham, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
After his treatment, Jack was still refusing to fetch, which had always been one of his favorite games. Cpl. Baulkham worked with him to rebuild his confidence. “Every day he grew by leaps and bounds,” said Cpl. Baulkham. “After only three days, I could see he was getting better.”
Six weeks later Jack returned to work. “He could have gone back sooner,” said Cpl. Baulkham. “I just wanted to give him the time to recover.”
Jack was just 2-years-old when he joined the RCMP. He had been selected to attend the Narcotics Drug Dog detention course in late 2000 where he was considered to be one of the top students. “His trainer said he never saw a dog search like him,” said Cpl. Baulkam.
As a narcotics detention dog, Jack’s only job was to sniff out illegal drugs. “He didn’t lose any of his senses after treatment,” said Cpl. Baulkham. “Everything came back.” Jack worked for the RMCP as a Police Service Dog for 2 years after his treatment. At the age of 11 and after 9 years on the force, he lost the battle, but over the course of his career, Jack recovered over $60 million dollars in drugs and over $2.5 million in currency.
“Jack was the most successful Specialty Dog on the RCMP,” said Cpl. Baulkham, and he was recognized by the British Columbia Supreme Court as an Expert in narcotics odor detection, the highest ranking they give.
“Jack is a legend,” said Cpl. Baulkham. “He has saved lives and made many communities safer. I owe my life to this dog.”