RDP Paddy

Retired Police Dog Paddy – Avon & Somerset

Police Dog Paddy Retired aged 11 years 7 months (68 in Dog years) March 2019

Well, let me introduce myself. I am Police Dog ‘Paddy’. I am a black Labrador (slightly grey around the edges now)!

March was my final week as an explosive detection dog working for Avon and Somerset Constabulary after serving there for some 55 dog years.

At 11 months old, I was a rather lively puppy and a little head strong so was gifted to the Police to see if I could use my energy in a more positive manner.

I was at the police training facility for a few days and I was evaluated for my suitability. A bit like our recruitment process for new officers (was I fit enough for the role/how did I react in different situations/and what was my drive like to succeed). I must have done fairly well as a friendly officer came and visited me with treats in his pocket and plenty of tickles and fuss.

This same officer, after 30 mins of play, took me with him and I’ve been his partner and friend for the last 55 dog years.

I flew through my initial course which lasted 8 weeks. This was 8 weeks of fun.It was really a simple game of hide and seek, and the course instructors would spend most of their time teaching me to smell a number of substances then try to trick me and my handler by hiding them from us. They did this in lots of ways and places but with my nose and the occasional bit of help from my handler, we always won.

As an explosive search dog my job is to keep people safe and over the years I’ve been deployed with my handler to lots of different situations and locations. My handler always says how proud he is of me having searched in every country in the United Kingdom.

I have searched within Avon and Somerset force area on numerous occasions to keep members of the public safe in times of heightened threat or to deal with suspicious packages. This has included large shopping centres, airports and ports.

During this time, I’ve learnt to search aircraft and ships. I’ve even learnt to search at height.

During the Olympics in 2012 I made sure, along with other dog teams, that it was safe for both athletes and spectators alike.

In 2013 whilst deployed to PSNI, I was awarded a recognition award for working in a high threat environment for a number of weeks.

With an increase in threat to large crowded areas, I’ve also worked at the Commonwealth games in Scotland, the champions league final in Wales and many other sporting events.

To carry out the role I had, I was required along with my human partner to undertake 20 days training per year which includes a rigorous licensing process. I took this time very seriously. But it was also a time of fun with my human partner.

I’ve had lots of experiences throughout this time some serious and some fun. One incident springs to mind. I was searching the Theatre Royal in Bath as a member of the royal family visited that day. This was to make sure the location was both safe for them and other members of the public. As I was searching the 2nd floor my handler opened a door to the upper box and indicated with his hand to go in. Now in my defence it looked very like the up/jump command he does so I did just that and jumped over the balcony. As I hurtled through the air I heard a stunned gasp from the dignities gathered on the stage, a loud pained “NO” from my handler fading in the distance behind me.

I luckily landed on the walkway between the stalls seating. As I continued to carry out my search of the seating areas, I saw behind me my handler leaning over the upper box who appeared to me to look very ill with a pained look on his face which by this time looked extremely pale, (humans can be quite fragile at times). He quickly joined me and made what appeared to be a lot of fuss. I wanted to continue to work as I’m trained to do however my handler decided I needed to go to the vets! They gave me a full clean bill of health albeit, I was a little stiff for a couple of days. I think I came out of the situation better than my handler who seemed to age 10 years overnight?

My last deployment was with my handler and a new member of the team, PD Murphy on Sunday. I watched and checked that PD Murphy was doing the right things for my Handler/Partner. Murphy only qualified last week, and after 55 dog years of being crewed with my handler, I’ve become quite fond of him and wanted to be sure he would be safe.

It’s going to be different staying at home in front of the fire from now on but with PD Murphy looking after my partner/colleagues and members of the public I can rest easy.

RPD Bear

Retired PD Bear – Avon & Somerset

Bear retired from Avon & Somerset in 2019 and was rehomed to a new loving family in Gloucestershire. Bear now lives on a farm in the Forest of Dean with his new loving family. He is enjoying his retirement to the full. You can follow him on Twitter @bearrpd

RPD Bear

Back in 2010 a young German Shepherd dog called Juke was destined to become a Police Dog. Described as wilful and full of beans the owners with young children struggling to cope with his boundless energy put him up for adoption on the pre loved site.

Sergeant Geoff Blindell from Gloucestershire Constabulary looking for a replacement for his recently departed Police dog took the journey down to Barnstaple to view the dog and the rest they say is history.

Juke who had now become BEAR due to another Duke on the section took to Policing like a duck to water and a great partnership was born.

The Team have been commended by the Chief Constable and PCC for their outstanding Community work, visiting care homes and schools provding talks and advice about their role and that of the section.

Bear has tracked to offenders involved in burglaries, car crime, saved suicidal missing persons and been involved in Firearms operations and major sporting events, such as the Champions league final in the Millennium stadium, Cardiff in 2017.

During a particularly busy fireworks night in 2015 Bear and his handler responded to a burglary in progress. BEAR was deployed and picked up a track, despite fireworks firing off all around them BEAR remained committed to the track and after some distance through the estate, into a large play park located 2 males carrying large carrier bags full of items. BEAR immediately fired up at the males having tracked to them and began barking, one decided to make a run for it and as BEAR was about to be deployed the second male threw a punch at PS BLINDELL which he had completely missed being focused on the male running off. However his partner didn’t and rather than chasing down the fleeing male spun round and took the males arm which narrowly missed PS BLINDELL. The male was detained until back up arrived and was arrested for the burglary with all the property recovered from the dropped carrier bags.

In 2016 in the early hours a young male armed with a knife had made off into a building site in the Forest of Dean intent on committing suicide. The local Officers struggling to locate the male due to the size of the area and prevailing weather conditions requested the assistance of a dog. PS BLINDELL and PD BEAR attended and despite not havin a starting point set off into the estate to try and locate male. BEAR was deployed off lead and started to search the area, it wasn’t long before he picked up a track and within no

time at all had located the male hiding underneath a parked vehicle. BEAR indicated as trained to do so, barking at the male who came out from under the car with his hands up dropping the knife which he still had in his possession. The male was detained under the mental health act and got the support and care he needed. Due to the weather conditions and state of mind of the male it was unlikely that he would have made it through the night if BEAR hadn’t located him.

Both BEAR and his handler PS Geoff Blindell retired together, one is chasing tennis balls the other golf balls!!

Retired PD Bear sadly passed away on the 19th June 2019 with his handler by his side.

RPD Ernie

Retired PD Ernie – A&S

Ernie retired year ago and lives with his handler Louise Grabham in Somerset. He is very much part of the family and loves children and other dogs. Sadly Ernie was diagnosed with a condition called gracilis contracture about 18 months before this not long after he was re-handled by Louise which led to his early retirement.

Operationally Ernie found numerous suspects and received a commendation for tracking to a drink driver that was suffering from hypothermia after he was located in a water filled ditch. Other memorable finds were when he located a robbery suspect under the floorboards of a loft space and a burglar hiding in a shed after tracking for 45 minutes.

Ernie also competed at regional trials and found that very exciting! He has adapted well but still loves to travel in the car on the school run. His mind is kept active by occasional training tracks and property searches with regular check ups at the vets and massaging of his muscles to keep him comfortable.

PC Louise Grabham

RPD Cass

Retired Police Dog Cass –Avon & Somerset

Cass joined Avon and Somerset Constabulary in 2009 and worked with her handler PC Paul Manley until her retirement in 2016.
Amongst her many arrests Cass saved the life of a 70 year old man who’s speech hearing and sight was seriously impaired. This gentleman had been missing for nearly two days and wasn’t found by search parties including police helicopters until Cass located him wedged in a ditch unable to move with a broken leg and suffering from serious hypothermia.

Cass now lives at home with PC Manley and really enjoys her walks.

PC 1872 Paul Manley 

 

 

RDP Sophie

Retired Police Dog Sophie – Wiltshire

This is retired Explosive search dog “Sophie”, affectionaly known to us all as Sophie Slippers, on account of her comfy looking furry feet.

Sophie is around 11years old, she was originally an explosive search dog in South Wales, and covered various events, in particular the 2012 Olympics. She moved to Wiltshire Police in late 2013, and retired towards the end of the following year with the restructuring of Tri Force, spending her time with 2 other retired dogs, whilst also keeping the Tri Force Training manager company on a daily basis. On that note one of Sophie’s strengths is she is a very social dog and is often called on to help with socialisation of new dogs settling into the Police environment.
As can be seen she is never far away from a tennis ball, and when the need arises she demonstrates her searching to interested parties, with new recruits and small groups benefiting from her vast experience.

Ian Partington

RPD Ace

Retired Police Dog Ace – Gloucestershire.

Ace joined Gloucester Police as a Police dog in 2010 and worked alongside his handler PC Richard Hunt. We were very lucky to get Ace as he was destined for great things with West Midlands Police after he was bred through their puppy breeding scheme, but unfortunately he suffered with travel sickness as a young dog and they did not have the time to try and resolve the issue, so he was kindly given to Gloucester.

At the same time Ace started his Police career a new Police/Safer Gloucester initiative was launched called Paws On Patrol, so it seemed only fitting that he became the mascot for the scheme. One of Ace’s best jobs came early in his career, it was not apprehending an offender but tracking to an elderly lady suffering with dementia who had left her house in the early hours of the morning in the Forest.

The temperature was -5 degrees and it was imperative that we found her quickly, Ace tracked from the premises for approximately half a mile where he located the unconscious female collapsed in a remote area suffering with hypothermia. Ace had an excellent career and never had a day off work sick, catching offenders, finding missing people and protecting the people throughout the county.

Ace retired in 2017 and remains living with his handler along with Holly the drugs dog and Jango who has taken over from Ace.

PC Richard Hunt

RPD Max

Retired Police Dog Max – Gloucestershire.

Max started his police career in 2010 imported from Germany. In March 2015 Max saved the life of a female who had gone missing for over 5 hours before police were called.

Max tracked to her lying in a field with a broken hip and hypothermia. For this act Max was awarded a PDSA commendation for his actions that night. He was also awarded a Super Pet award where he got to meet Michaela Strachan who gave him his award. In 2017 Max retired from police duty and now lives at home with his handler.

Max is enjoying his retirement to the full.

PC Janson Wong

Retired PD Max sadly passed away in May 2019 with his handler by his side.

RPD ‘ell

Retired Police Dog ‘ell – Wiltshire.

‘ell is a  8yr old German. She worked in Wiltshire through out her service and was a successful police dog. She had her back injured when at a football match and dealing with a major disturbance an offender was thrown on top of her.

She has mostly recovered but is now prone to back problems. Hopefully she will never need to call on WAGs but as she can’t be insured it’s nice to know WAGs is there if she does need help with vet bills.

PC Marie Poole 

RPD Griffin

Retired Police Dog Griffin – Wiltshire.

Griffin is a very cute Cocker Spaniel. He is about 11 years old. He came from the Blue Cross in Hertfordshire. They had brought him over from Ireland where he had been a stray. He had been on the streets for at least a few months before the dog warden was able to catch him. On the day he was due to be put to sleep, as he had been claimed, the Blue Cross collected him and brought him to the UK. He was a difficult dog to re-home as he has issues. I assessed him to be a person scanning  or passive drugs dog and he flew through his training to become one of the smallest  passive dogs working in the uk.

He worked for about 5 years before retiring due to him getting a little stressed.. He caught hundreds of people during his working life, both drug users and drug dealers. He is now happily retired, incredibly naughty and absolutely gorgeous. WAGs was able to help when his spleen became enlarged and he had to have a major operation to remove it. In a very worrying time WAGs took the financial worry away. 

PC Marie Poole 

RPD Sid

Retired Police Dog Sid – Avon & Somerset.

Sid is 12 years old, he retired at the age of 10.  He worked hard with myself as an Explosive search Dog.  Deployed for bomb threats and IED searches.  Sid looked after Royal Family members and senior cabinet ministers.  He completed 2 tours of Northern Ireland looking after President Obama in Ireland.  Sid worked alongside myself at the Olympics, Paralympics and Commonwealth Games.

He regularly worked searching at the Cheltenham Gold cup and International Cricket events.  Sid and I worked at both the G8 and NATO summits.  I’m very proud of the vital work Sid completed.  Sid now spends  his days playing and sleeping with our 2 pet Jack Russell’s which are fantastic companions for him while I’m out working with my new dog.  

PC Nick Dalrymple

Sid sadly passed away on the 22/2/19 in the arms of his family at home in his favourite place on the sofa aged 15 years.

RPD Solo

Retired Police Dog Solo – Avon & Somerset.

Solo was born in March 2009, he is KC registered and although I don’t know his KC name he was called Oakley before being renamed Solo.

He was put up for rehoming and came to A&S around May 2010.

Solo trained to become an explosives search dog and on qualifying worked with his handler Simon Castledine.
Having already rehomed Diesel I wasn’t on the look out for a second dog! However, sat in the report writing room doing some paperwork, in comes Simon who says the words ‘do you know anyone who wants to rehome my dog?’. ‘What kind of dog?’ I ask, ‘black Labrador’ is the response! At this point I engaged mouth before brain and said ‘I’ll have him!’ Quickly followed by ‘but he’ll have to get on with Diesel as he’s my main priority!’ No thought of how I was going to explain a second dog to my partner!

I took Diesel to meet Solo, they ignored each other! Both ran in different directions, noses to the ground wrapped up in whatever smell they’d found. However on introducing a ball to play with they shared beautifully. Solo was like a rocket going after a ball which made me realise just how slow Diesel was! It didn’t matter which one got to the ball first the other wasn’t fazed. A good sign this might just work!

My next hurdle was convincing my other half that we ought to have a second dog! He’s a cat person and I’m a dog person!

Growing up I’ve always had dogs, Rufus (14)a yellow Labrador, Tess (17) and Pippa (16) both Border Collies we had at the same time , Amy (14) taken on as a retired gun dog at age 5, Holly (16) taken on at aged 10 and Diesel.
My reasoning was that I’d had two dogs before and as you’ve got to walk one anyway having a second was no problem!
He wasn’t convinced, but Solo duly arrived! Solo also had been living outside in a kennel and had to get used being inside. His bed was next to Diesel but he wouldn’t go in it preferring to lie on the tiled floor.
Solo is a smaller build than Diesel and weighs in at 26kg, he also has a mind of his own and for the first 2 weeks refused to do anything he was told!

Diesel was a little jealous, having had his mum to himself he found he suddenly had to share! He also realised he has to share space on the sofa!

I don’t think Solo had ever been on a sofa before and the one person who wasn’t convinced about having a second dog was the one person who invited him up!

Whereas Diesel wanted to climb all over you, Solo was happy to curl up next to you and rest his head on your leg.
Solo needed to learn about the no going upstairs rule, 5 months in and he’s just about got it! Early days we would find he’d disappeared and I’d find him curled up on our bed! A few times I’d go to bed and as I was drifting off there would be a thud as he landed next to me, curled up and went to sleep!

Solo is also a swimmer, he loves the water, however unlike Diesel he understands the word ‘No’ just as he’s about to go into the same muddy, smelly pond!

Solo likes to rescue stones, he’ll happily put his head underwater and pick a stone up and bring it to the shore and go in for another!

In the 5 months that Solo has been with us, both dogs have really come together as a team, having spent 10 days away with them in North Wales in the caravan where they lived in close proximity they are learning new things off each other. There’s a little bit of a bromance going on between them, with Diesel licking Solo round his neck and if he stops Solo will paw him to keep going, it’s very sweet.

I now have two shadows that follow me about, I can no longer close the door of the downstairs loo if I go in, fitting me in with two Labradors no longer works!

Both of my boys are a big part of our lives and are a masdive part of our family, we wouldn’t have it any other way!

PC Michelle Gozna

RPD Taco

Retired Police Dog Taco – Wiltshire.

Taco is 11 years old and still full of life. He joined Wiltshire Police as a Drugs cash & firearms recovery dog in 2007. He lives at home with me and my 2 current working dogs PD’s Max & Charley. During his working life he recovered thousands of pounds worth of drugs, thousands in cash and 2 firearms.

Sadly in 2012 he had an accident whilst out running with his fellow police dog and was paralysed for a short time as he hurt his neck. Lots of love, care and physio helped him back to fitness and he did return to work, even if he did run like a banana. He retired from active duty in 2014. Due to his injury he now has regular injections and medication for arthritis, so he’s signed up to WAG’s for help if he needs it.

PC Tracy Doughty.

Retired PD Taco sadly passed away on 20th August 2019 with his family by his side.

RPD Barney

Retired Police Dog Barney – Gloucestershire.

Barney joined Gloucestershire Police and trained in Drugs, Cash, Firearms and Ammunition. He enjoyed his job and had several successful operational finds.

In 2012 Barney worked in London at the Olympics. He was up every night searching various Olympic venues for Firearms to ensure the safety of the public. Barney searched Wimbledon, Earls Court and The Horse Guards Parade. It was Barney’s first time in London and he enjoyed every minute. The highlight for Barney was searching Wimbledon with all those tennis balls!!

Barney retired and stayed with me. He enjoys life chasing his ball and cuddling his favourite teddy bear on the sofa. He lives at home with PD Stella the Staffie and PD Quest who are my current working dogs. Barney has a best friend called Flame who is our pet dog they go everywhere together. Barney is fit & healthy and enjoying his retirement to the full.

PC Claire Todd

RPD Omar

Retired Police Dog Omar – Gloucestershire

Omar began his career in Gloucestershire Police in 2008. Throughout his career, Omar had numerous prisoners, from people breaking into cars and houses to finding vulnerable/missing people.

In 2014 his last year as a working Police Dog, Omar and I received Police Dog Team Operational Humanitarian Action of the Year. We attended Crufts in 2015 to receive the award. This incident just showed what a brilliant Police dog Omar was. A male had committed a domestic assault then ran off across fields saying he had taken medication and was going to kill himself. The helicopter was up , Officers were everywhere looking for him. Omar and I were there looking along paths and streets. The helicopter stood down after a negative search of the area. I decided to check the fields again where the helicopter had been bearing in mind we had already been searching for a couple of hours. Omar and I walked down the fields meeting up with other officers who were standing down and asked if we wanted a lift back we declined and walked back up through the fields . Omar suddenly went over to a hedge and I put his tracking line on. We went through the hedge and I could hear a males voice. Omar tracked to the male who was led in the field but he jumped to his feet and said he was going to kill my ‘bleep bleep’ dog! The level of aggression from this male was extremely scarey, bearing in mind we were in the middle of know where! The male then ran off into the dark and I sent Omar who ran off after him, I followed to find the male stood still with Omar barking at him … a perfect stand off! We kept the male with us until Officers arrived and it took four of them to detain him. What a hero Omar was that night and through his whole career.

This is the link to the YouTube Clip of Omar receiving his award: https://youtu.be/3fiI_LC_DGE

Omar enjoyed his retirement at home with me and my family.  He sadly passed away with me by his side on the 8th October 2018.   

PC Debbie Shields

RPD Diesel

Retired Police Dog Diesel – Avon & Somerset.

Diesel came to A&S when he was 18 months old. His original owners gave him to the RSPCA at West Hatch for rehoming.
He was identified as a dog with potential to become a Police search dog and so his training began.
He qualified as a drugs, firearms, ammunition and cash recovery dog in Euros and Sterling, and was placed with his handler Adam Paton.

I knew of Diesel and work on the same team as Adam, and in Jan 2016 happened to be in the police canteen when Adam walked in. He’d just been told that Diesel had to retire, and was rather upset about the news. Diesel had slight arthritis in his back legs and he was getting stiffer and slower in his searching and ability to jump up onto anything of any height. Adam needed to find a new owner, he would have kept him but he was to be given a new search dog and had other dogs at home and as much as he wanted to he couldn’t take on an additional dog.

At the time I had a 16 year old Border Collie who had been diagnosed with cancer the previous October and I was having to make that responsible but hard decision on her future. Adam and I had a discussion on timescales and it was agreed that I would adopt Diesel and give him his forever retirement home. I met Adam and Diesel a couple of times to see what he was like and to learn his commands.

On the 15th Feb 2016 I lost Holly my Collie, she had a lovely last day, but the void was too much and I asked Adam if I could take on Diesel slightly sooner.

Diesel arrived on the 29th Feb 2016, I met Adam in a dog walking field near Portbury, they’d had one last walk together, Diesel then jumped into the boot of my car and I took him home. Adam had a tear as he watched me drive away with him.

It took 3 days for Diesel to settle in! Less for him to find his space on the sofa!

We very quickly set up a routine, his bed was in the kitchen, a new concept for him as he’d lived outside in a kennel, and if I needed to go out or put him to bed, it was up the garden for a wee, back inside, radio on, key out the back door and telling him to go into his bed, within a couple of weeks of doing this every time I only had to take the key out of the back door and he was in his bed!

Diesel is very much my dog, he has a canny way of knowing when we’re talking about him, even if we think he’s asleep, his tail starts to wag at the tip! If you make eye contact then that’s as good as telling him you’re up for him to sit on you, at 34kg he’s one big cuddle monster! He does love his fuss!
He follows me everywhere, he had to learn that upstairs was a no go zone for dogs, I just don’t allow them up there, so he’ll patiently wait at the bottom for me to come down.

Diesel loves to play ball and will spend many a happy walk bringing a ball back to me, his sense of smell is amazing, he will usually dive off into the undergrowth, right into the brambles and return really pleased with himself when he’s found another dog’s ball.

Diesel also loves to swim, and will find the dirtiest, muddiest, smelliest pond to take a dip in! This usually happens when I’m on a time constraint and he becomes stubborn and refuses to come out! He’s made me late for work as a result!

When swimming he had a habit of needing to rescue drowning sticks! He will find one, bring it out and drop it at my feet then go back in for the next one! More than once he’s grabbed a stick which he felt needed rescuing only for it to be still attached to a tree and he’s happily treading water trying to bring it to the shore, unfortunately two people then thought he was drowning and that he needed rescuing! Oops!

Diesel has been useful in the local park where I walk him, he’s such a friendly boy anyone sat on the ground he’ll go and say hello to, mention the words “retired drugs dog” usually clears the park if these people are up to no good!
Diesel is now 10 and a half, greyer around his muzzle and slightly slower, but he’s loving his retirement, he gets walks in the country, trips away in the caravan and most of all, all the love a Labrador could want!

PC Michelle Gozna

RPD YOGI

Retired Police Dog Yogi – Gloucestershire.

Yogi came to me from Europe in December 2007, via Eric White. His name was Mutscho he was very dark coated.

He became the dog with 9 lives, surviving 2 torshions, & running off the edge of the Daglingworth Stone quarry, falling 100ft.
He was the most loyal, obedient crew mate I have worked with. He still searches for property when lost in our fields, & earned himself a box of bonios finding a mobile phone that had been lost.

Yogi enjoyed his retirement to the full, going on trips in the horsebox and relaxing on the sofa. 

Yogi sadly passed away with me by his side on the 9th January 2019.

PC Lenny Mansell

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