07/08/2014 04:38 EDT | Updated 09/07/2014 05:59 EDT

Cooper, rescue dog in Vancouver, dies

A much-loved rescue dog who served with Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services (VFRS) on several high-profile projects, including the investigation into Robert Pickton and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, has died.

Cooper passed away after a brief illness aged 13, VRFS said in a news release Tuesday.

Fire Chief John McKearney noted that Cooper had represented the department admirably throughout his tenure, and that his loss is "significant".

Cooper worked with the department at home and abroad on numerous projects including:

- Seymour mudslide in 2005

- New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005

- Assisted the RCMP Major Crimes Unit with numerous investigations, notably the Robert Pickton investigation

- The Missing Women’s Task Force

- Assisted with searches associated with the Highway of Tears

- Assisted the B.C. Coroners Service on numerous occasions