A scared pup found by an RCMP officer has found a new home and a new life.
In January 2018, Cst. Lesley Steinke was posted to Poplar River First Nation. Excited to work in the specialized Manitoba RCMP Headquarters, she expected few other life changes at the time.
But when a puppy was found in a ditch near the detachment, thin from lack of food and spray painted purple on his back, animal rescue was added to the officer's plate.
Initially scared of people, a warm meal, bath, and plenty of attention help the pup gain confidence in his new surroundings and Steinke.
Diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2014, Steinke has used animal rescue to help her cope with trauma. “Animal rescue is very therapeutic and rewarding for me."
Soon Steinke was fostering the dog, who she named Casey. When he was strong enough, Casey was put up for adoption.
“It was a tough decision to let Casey go, but I also trusted his journey would lead him to where he needed to be,” Cst. Steinke said. She knew other rescue opportunities wouldn't be possible with Casey still in her care.
Casey, now Enzo, lives with Sophie, a clinical psychologist from Quebec who was in search of a therapy dog. For the last 10 years, Sophie has focused her training on PTSD and working with first responders. She'd spent a year at the RCMP Depot in Regina working with officers, and along with her partner, Simon fell in love immediately with the pup.
Now training to be an officially certified therapy dog, Enzo will be assisting first responders like Cst. Steinke cope with PTSD.
Cst. Steinke's reaction to Enzo's new line of work was nothing short of pleased.
“As an officer who was diagnosed with PTSD, it means more to me than you can possibly imagine that he will be a mental health champion and help members like me move through trauma/ PTSD.
"It's more than I could ever have imagined for him and indeed a true story of serendipity!”