Saanich police Const. Jon Zielinski and his four-legged partner, Zeke, are now two-time champions at the Canadian Police Canine Championships.
Zeke, a five-year-old German shepherd, came first in the tracking and obedience scenarios, and second in the evidence search component, to be named the overall champion of the event.
“I’m happy with our successes. Every one of the competitors really did well, and that pushed the couple of us that seemed to get some of the awards. Everyone was so close behind,” Zielinski said of his and Zeke’s standing.
The competition was held at Centennial Stadium at the University of Victoria, meaning Zielinski and Zeke felt the pros and cons of competing on home soil this year.
“It was a greater challenge this year because I had other jobs and duties (on the event organization side) that needed to be satisfied; stuff that we don’t have to deal with when we’re on the road,” he said. “But it was nice to have the support in the stands. I could hear and I could feel the support in our home stand yesterday, which was really special.”
Zielinski and Zeke also came first at the 2012 CPCC in Regina.
And while the Saanich cop says he’s proud and lucky to work with a dog as skilled and competent as Zeke, he says their performance – and the performance of the other 27 dog handlers – at the competition doesn’t mean they’re the best canine team in Canada.
“I’m so happy he can do well in this environment, but at the end of the day what’s important is the work that he does on the street,” he said. “There are awesome dogs all over the country that are doing great work.”
Saanich police Const. Justin Whittaker and seven-year-old Taz came in eighth overall.