The VPD Canine Unit calendar looks slick and raises a lot of money for the BC Cancer Foundation and BC Children’s Hospital each year. What you might not know is that getting this calendar into your hands is…shall we say…not exactly Amazon, but a definite labour of love!
Csts. Brian Lequesne and Dennis Jesus are the officers behind this massive project. Dennis is currently in the Canine Unit, with partner PSD Gibbs (for those with 2020 calendars they are June) and Brian is in Patrol, on the front lines of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Brian had been in the Canine Unit until late 2018 when his partner, PSD Bailey retired. (PSD Bailey unfortunately passed away not long after and there is a special tribute to her in this year’s calendar.)
Every minute spent on this project is on their own time – after shift or on days off. All year long, there is something to do – whether it’s planning for the next year, organizing the photo shoots (sometimes 14-hours long!), liaising with the charity beneficiaries or CPCs/retailers who help sell the calendars or the biggest job of them all – stuffing and labelling envelopes for online sales (about 85% of the total).
The job is so big both Brian and Dennis have enlisted their family members to help! The VPF also provided some volunteer support last year, but the bulk of the work is done by Dennis and Brian. They estimate that during peak season (between September and December) they are volunteering about 40-60 hours per week on top of their regular duties as police officers.
When asked why they do it, Brian summed it up as “a very worthwhile fundraising initiative and an opportunity to take our furry partners to connect with the community. When we can show them that behind the ‘scary’ uniforms and trucks that we are just people and our partners are just dogs, it goes a long way to building bridges and a better understanding of policing.”
It’s an extraordinary commitment by two extraordinary officers who have a combined 32 years of policing between them. They are well into the planning stages for the 2021 calendar, although the early concepts were cast aside after the coronavirus pandemic fully hit. We can’t tell you much about this year’s theme…although we can tell you that there will be an opportunity for people to pick the image for one of the months! Follow the VPF and the Vancouver Police Dog Calendar for more details about timing of the voting and how to pick.
The 2019 calendar sold out quickly and the 2020 calendar was also a huge hit! You can join our Police Dog Calendar list for exclusive pre-sales, updates, teasers and other unique opportunities.