M.L. youth wins RCMP puppy contest

by Phil Ambroziak

From ancient Greek mythology to stardom on the silver screen, Hercules is a name that echoes throughout the ages. Now, it’s also the name of one of the latest additions to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Jaidyn Danilkewich

Jaidyn Danilkewich

Herc is one of 13 German shepherd puppies born recently at the RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre in Innisfail, AB. He received his moniker, however, from 12-year-old Meadow Lake resident Jaidyn Danilkewich as part of an online contest.

“My mom told me about the contest and I thought it would be cool if I were to win,” Danilkewich explained.

Danilkewich was among more than 21,000 children from across Canada to enter the RCMP’s 2015 Name the Puppy Contest, an opportunity that attracted almost twice as many participants than in years past. Because of the unprecedented response, Inspector André Lemyre, the officer in charge of police dog services, chose 13 winners representing every province and territory in Canada, not just 10 as originally planned.

“Everyone was blown away by not only the number, but also the creativity of all the entries,” Lemyre noted. “Congratulations to the 13 winners.”

According to Danilkewich’s mother, Brandi, everyone in the family tried their luck at coming up with the perfect name.

“My cousin is an RCMP officer in British Columbia and she posted a link to the contest on Facebook – that’s where I found out about it,” Brandi Danilkewich said. “We all picked what we thought would be a good name and I submitted all of our suggestions separately.”

She went on to say her daughter deserved to win because the name she suggested was the strongest of the bunch.

“It starts with an ‘H’, it’s short, but it sounds tough just like the real Hercules,” she added.

This year, it was a requirement of the RCMP that all entries begin with the letter ‘H’. They also had to be no more than two syllables in length. For multiple entries of the same name, winners were selected at random. All winners will receive a certificate, a laminated photo of the puppy they named, a plush German shepherd and an RCMP cap.

“She hasn’t received her prize yet, but I assume it will arrive in the mail,” the elder Danilkewich stated.

According to the RCMP, police service dog teams are an integral part of front line policing. They search for missing or lost people, track and apprehend criminals, remove illicit drugs from the streets, detect explosives and search for and recover evidence used in crimes.

The Police Dog Service Training Centre is the national training centre for all RCMP police dog teams.

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