German Shepherd puppy found in ‘grim’ conditions during raid graduates as police dog for Norfolk and Suffolk
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A puppy who was rescued during a raid has officially become a police dog. Despite a difficult start in life, PD Arnie has recently celebrated becoming an official member of the local force.
The German Shepherd/Malinois cross, became a fully-fledged member of the Norfolk and Suffolk Police at the Norfolk Showground on May 4. He graduated as a member of the team alongside PD Boris, a black German Shepherd – one of several dogs donated to the Norfolk and Suffolk Police dog Unit by a breeder.
The two dogs and their “puppy walkers” gathered to applaud their achievements. The walkers are made up of volunteers who foster the puppies during their training.
Arnie was recovered from grim conditions during an operation in East Suffolk. He was signed over to the force by his owner.
Despite these conditions, the pup has proved his resilience turning out to be an “exceptional” dog and a very quick learner. He passed his training with flying colours despite having only half the time to train due to illness.
Dog instructor PC Jim Wells said he was “massively intelligent” and “exceptional” at tracking. He said: “He is now starting to listen to his handler and be a bit more disciplined. He is getting stronger and stronger, and when he is tracking he is on fire.
“Both the dogs are still developing. It’s like passing your driving test – it does not make you a good driver, it’s the experience that counts.”
PD Boris has been described as a small but mighty dog. PC Wells said he was “brave, courageous, and loyal – but with a spark about him.”
Both dogs have both been with their puppy walkers for over a year and have lived with their handlers for around three weeks. At the celebration event, Arnie and Boris showed off their skills with dog agility, tracking and recall displays.
Their achievement is made even more exceptional as not all dogs who start the training course complete it, with those who don’t make it being rehomed. Chief Inspector Sarsfield Donohue of Suffolk Police first met PD Arnie at Lowestoft Police Station over a year ago.
He said: “Arnie was recovered from a premises where he would have had a rather grim future. He was sitting outside my office and he looked like he had real potential. He was assessed and the rest is history. I am just delighted to see how he has turned out and no doubt he will be a real asset to Norfolk and Suffolk.”
The joint unit has more than 40 dogs ready to deploy to a range of situations such as tracking suspects, finding missing people and recovering property. There are also specialist roles to do with drugs and explosives.
Both graduates are now ready to get stuck into action. Jodie Proctor, Arnie’s puppy walker, said it was a wrench having to give him back, adding: “But it is nice that he has done so well. He is a little bit of the star of the show so it is nice to have been a part of that.”
Boris had been with puppy walker Holly Metcalf for a longer period of 18 months amid fears he might not have passed. Holly said that it was hard to let him go, but he was a good-natured, lovely dog.
PC Wells said the success of both dogs in the last six months was a reminder to never write off dogs too early. He said he was delighted with the turnout of the celebration event and thanked everyone who contributed to the dog unit’s success.