Police dogs are often seen in the news with their handlers - they bring down fleeing suspects, they sniff out drugs, they find explosives.
But before they're police dogs, they're puppies. And the task of raising them and doing their early training falls to some dedicated RCMP officers, including two here in Langley.
Const. Spencer Kuehn and Const. Rachel Suttie are each raising a puppy in their off hours. The dogs, both German shepherds, come from the national RCMP program for breeding police dogs, based in Alberta.
Since the dogs were weaned, Kuehn has taken charge of Erko, now just 11 weeks old and a mass of dark fur, ears, and paws.
Enno (pronounced Ee-no) is being raised by Suttie, and at four months he's almost twice as big.
Raising an RCMP puppy adds to the lengthy shifts of a general duty police officer.
Suttie and Kuehn have to care for and train their new charges, almost entirely on their own time.
When the Mounties head off to work, the dogs come with them, staying in a kennel in the detachment building in Murrayville, or sometimes passing through the building with their current masters. The dogs draw a lot of attention, both from civilian staff and from senior RCMP officers, who all seem to want to stop and say hi.
At home Suttie and Kuehn mostly raise the pups like normal dogs, but there is a certain amount of early training going on to prepare them for their futures as possible police dogs.
Enno's toys are teaching him to grip and pull targets, for example.
Both Kuehn and Suttie grew up with dogs of their own.
For Kuehn, it was a rottweiler/shepherd cross called Misty, a farm dog who spent most of her time outside, and like a lot of farm dogs, largely took care of herself.
Suttie's dog was a cocker spaniel/ retriever/lab mix named Molly, much more of an inside dog.
More recently, Kuehn has already taken care of another RCMP puppy.
"I had Ebee for seven months," he said. When the dog was old enough, he had to send her off to further her training.
"It was hard," Kuehn said of giving up the dog he'd become attached to. "At the same time, I already had Erko," and the much younger dog was taking a lot of his attention. It wasn't fair to Ebee to divide his time, he said.
Raising the dogs is also the first step in becoming full-time police dog handlers.
"I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't have a goal," said Kuehn.
They both want to be involved in what they see as one of the most exciting partnerships a police officer can have.
"For me, it's fun," said Kuehn. "I want to be in front line policing, and also in this aspect of it."
"I love working with animals," said Suttie.
"Teaming up with a dog, what gets better than that?" she added.
You can't just apply and enter the program, the officers said. You need to prove you're committed by doing the work.
"It's something you have to pursue," said Suttie.
In addition to raising the pups, they have spent time volunteering with fulltime dog handlers, they have gone to Innisfail, Alta., for a week-long course in raising the junior RCMP dogs, and they have spent time as training targets.
Suttie has played a "bad guy" in scenarios for full-grown police dogs, being chased and even attacked while wearing a padded suit or arm guards.
"A lot of times, your arms is just full of bruises," she said.
If they make the leap to working on a police dog unit - the local unit is shared between Langley and Surrey - they'll have to spend six months of intensive training in Alberta.
Then they'll be partnered with a dog for the long term.