Police Dog Paddy Retires aged 11 years 7 months (68 in Dog years)

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

This is 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.

Visit to the foundry and update on the statue’s progress

We mentioned yesterday that we paid a visit to the foundry to check on the progress of the National K9 Memorial.

We were amazed at how much work has already taken place and what is left to do and we thought you’d like to learn a little bit more of what it takes to make this happen, so here go’s

The first step is to produce a life size clay mould, we showed you some pictures of this when the the clay mould was still at John’s studio.

This mould was dismantled for ease of transportation and taken to the foundry where the next process began.

Several layers of latex were ‘painted’ onto the pieces of clay mould, these layers are peeled off of the clay and then covered with a jacket of plaster of paris to give the pieces some rigidity. Then several layers of wax are applied to the latex moulds.

The next stage is to dip and coat these pieces with several layers of another solution that is also covered with fine powder, these pieces are then placed in a kiln at 1000c where the wax melts very quickly leaving a very hard outer shell.

Now begins the final stage of pouring the liquid bronze into each individual pieces. Once the bronze is cold the outer shell is broken off and then the work begins to prepare the different pieces and put this incredible jigsaw back together again.

We cannot overstate how much work has gone into preparing the pieces through the different stages to get to this point. Each stage requires a tremendous amount of detail and hours of patience.

This photos shows what the maquette looked like when the outer hard shell was removed, you can still see the fixing rods that prevent any movement of the bronze whilst it is curing, and you can also see how much work is still required to get the maquette looking like the last photo.

Hopefully this post has given you an insight into the work that is going on and where your wonderful donations are going.

Every £ that you’re able to to donate will go directly towards producing the memorial, there are hundreds and hundreds of hours being given of their own time by our small team to make this happen, we are passionate about making sure that your £’s are not wasted, we really value every single £. and thank you for your continued support.

Memorial Unveiling Countdown

We are now counting down to the unveiling of the National K9 Memorial on 12th April 2019 and we are all getting very excited.

We still need to raise £30,000 and you can help us by donating via the donate button on our home page. Thank you so much to those of you who have already donated. We guarantee that every penny you donate goes directly to the memorial.

We are in the process of researching our next big fundraiser, but if you wish to do a fundraising activity yourself then please do so. We know that some of you are planning on running half marathons for us and we appreciate this.

If you are a company and want to get involved then please do not hesitate to contact us, our details are on our contact information page,

We believe that all our Police Dogs past, present and future deserve to be honoured and with your help we will reach our target.

Once again, thank you all so much for your support and donations, together we will see these brave heroes honoured.

PC Paul Nicholls & PD Sabre

Happy New Year

Abseil with Police Scotland

As we approach the end of 2018, we reflect on what we have achieved this year, and we would just like to say to all our wonderful followers, thank you so very much. 

2018 has been a very productive year for us. We have seen the memorial heading into its final phase.  Essex artist John Doubleday finished the sculpture a few months ago. Now it’s at the foundry where they’ll make a mould and then cast the sculpture in bronze.

We’ve ordered the granite plinth for the sculpture and we hope that the foundation works will begin early in the New Year.

We have been working hard on raising funds, from auctioning Bob Oxley’s painting of Elmo, putting on a bite suite, abseiling down a building with Police Scotland, and PC Emma Worrall completed a mammoth 24 hour walk.

Training Day with Police Scotland

All to raise funds for the memorial. 

PC Worrall & PD Canto

We are looking at arranging something else for next year. We’ll let you know about that nearer the time.

2018 also saw us become a registered charity which is great news for us and means that more of you can get involved and help us raise funds by taking part in marathons & charity events.  We guarantee you that every single penny that is raised and you donate goes directly to creating this incredible memorial dedicated to our Police Dogs.

We believe that all our PDs past, present and future deserve to be honoured and in April 2019 this will happen.  We are all so excited and can’t wait to see the sculpture. 

To all our serving Police Dogs and handlers, thank you for putting yourselves in harms way and protecting us. We can’t thank you all enough.

We really couldn’t do this without you and appreciate all your donations and the support you have given us, it really means a lot to us.

Wishing you all a very happy and  prosperous New Year.

Paul, Trish and everyone at Team K9 Memorial

Puppies, Police Dogs and Impersonations

We asked Inspector Leigh McManus of Police Scotland Specialist Operations, Mounted and Dog Unit West Command in Glasgow to give us an insight into a typical day at Glasgow’s Dog Training Centre.

When did you join the Police and how did you end up in Glasgow?

I joined Durham Constabulary as a Police Constable in August 1990 where I served for nine years before transferring to Northumbria Police on promotion to Sergeant in January 1999.

Following my promotion to Inspector in 2007, after a period in response policing, I became an Operations Inspector which meant when I was on duty I was responsible for managing the Traffic Unit, the Dog Unit and Territorial Support Group (TSG) throughout Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Although I have been very passionate about dogs since childhood, having grown up in a house full of ‘furry friends’ large and small, this period in my career was the beginning of directly working with police dogs, a role which I was extremely passionate about. It was not long before I moved on again and found myself Head of Dog Training with Northumbria Police which was my dream job.

In August 2014 my family and I decided to move north to Glasgow and at this time I transferred to Police Scotland, remaining as a Police Inspector, but this meant moving away from my passion, police dogs, to take up a shift Inspector role in response policing.

I remained within this role for a further two years, during which time I would regularly walk past the National Dog Training Centre at Pollok Country Park, Glasgow with my family and would think about how amazing it would be to eventually work within the Dog Unit again.

Imagine my excitement when I checked the internal adverts on a busy late shift in Glasgow only to discover the role was advertised for the Dogs and Mounted Inspector. I did indeed apply and was elated when I was offered the job in July 2016…and so began my second passion…police horses!!

I now have responsibility within Police Scotland for the National Dog Training School where all police dogs in Scotland come on their initial training and also responsibility for operational police dogs and handlers covering the West of Scotland from the Borders to Oban.

In addition, I also have responsibility for the Mounted Unit throughout Scotland and split my time equally between the two units.

I live at home with my wife, two kids, a Goldendoodle called Darcy and three Maine Coon cats called Basil, Beau and Skye.

Why did you want to work in the Dog Section?

My love of dogs started at a very early age and there has rarely been a time throughout my life when dogs have not been a big part of it.  Although I have never been a police dog handler which is a massive opportunity missed for me, I still work with police dogs on a daily basis which is an amazing opportunity to combine a personal passion with working life.

As a young cop, police dogs always impressed me and still do today, so I have always been drawn in this direction. Now, I am lucky enough to manage the Unit and try to ensure that my staff and dogs have the best training and equipment to be the best that they can be and most importantly, that they can support our front line colleagues throughout Scotland.

I still get a big thrill to hear that our police dogs have apprehended criminals, found property or located vulnerable persons and are literally saving lives on a daily basis. I am very proud to be part of this and over 28 years on, I still walking through the office door every day.

What is a typical day for you?

A typical day in the Dog Unit for me is first of all to catch up with what’s been going on since I was last on duty.

This normally consists of chatting to cops en route from my car, hands free of course!, to my office and being updated with exciting and interesting jobs and of course, tales of woe on occasions!

I normally pop my head into the Sergeants’ office and if on duty, speak to one of my three Dog Sergeants again to see what’s been happening.

It’s also fair to say that the journey from the car to the office often results in numerous conversations with our K9 colleagues who are either barking ferociously in the back of a van or walking across the car park with their handler.

When I do eventually reach my desk, I fire up the computer and look at the 24 hours report which handlers update at the end of their shift with incidents attended and those where the dog team have enjoyed successes.

I like to recognise good work so I will normally acknowledge this with an email if the police officer is not on duty or a personal ‘thank you’ if I can talk to them directly.

To be honest, it’s then normally time to put the kettle on for a coffee.

As the National Dog Training School starts at  8.00 am the kitchen is normally full of dog handlers who are either on initial or refresher training courses, so whilst making my cuppa, this is normally a good chance to chat and find out how their course is going or to generally become involved in the ‘banter’.

With coffee in hand I will then head across to the Training Unit portakabin to catch up with the dog instructors and check how many dogs we have in the kennels before heading back to my desk to start on my ‘To Do’ list and generally answer emails.

I normally receive a call from my boss, the Chief Inspector, before 9.00 am each day, where I can update him with what has been going on in the Dog and Mounted world in the last 24 hours so he can report anything of note to his senior colleagues.

Sometimes I will go out and observe dog training (weather dependant!), but generally my role involves the daily management of staff, ensuring we have the capacity and capability to deliver a service to our colleagues and the public, ensure that we can deliver training and acquisition of dogs and equipment in order for the Dog Unit to operate effectively.

What’s the best part of working in the dog section?

The dogs of course! What more do I need to say! I retire after 30 years in the police in August 2020 and I cannot imagine not coming here every day!

How do you get any work done, especially when there’s new puppies running around all the time?

There really is no job like mine and I thank my lucky stars every day!

I can be sitting at my desk and all of a sudden chaos will ensue with either a ‘big dog’ or a little puppy bursting through the door to greet me.

This normally involves me dropping everything and rolling about on the floor with our furry friends and starting to talk in a funny high-pitched voice trying to communicate with them!

When I get tired of working at my desk, there’s no better therapy than going to see one of the police dogs for a ‘chat’ and a stroke. Often I get more sense out of them than my colleagues!

Have you a funny story from your career that you can share with us?

As a young 19 years old cop working in Durham I can recall being sent to a burglary alone in the small hours at a large industrial unit with reports that they were still on the premises.

As I got out of my panda I noticed a fire door had been forced and was ajar.

With back up some ten minutes away, and no option of a police dog, I reluctantly entered the unit, not knowing what I would face.

As I walked through the door and peered  into the darkness, I had an ingenious idea…

I would pretend to be a police dog handler and shout out in the deepest voice I could…

POLICE OFFICER WITH A DOG, IF YOU DON’T COME OUT I’LL SEND IN MY DOG”

I did think about trying to mimic a bark at this point, but felt my poor impression would be a step too far!

To my absolute amazement, a male crawled out from behind some boxes and gave himself up immediately after my challenge.

After telling him to lie face down allowing me to handcuff him, can you imagine his disappointment when he turned around to find I was alone and that there was no dog in sight!

By the time my colleagues arrived, I was standing rather proud with my prisoner ready to go!!

November 200 Challenge

We are at the half way point  of our November 200 Challenge.  I am cycling 200 miles during the course of the month.   As you can see I only have another 20 miles to do.

Why did we choose a 200 challenge?

We chose to do this as we have just under 200 PDs on our Roll of Honour and we thought it would be a great opportunity to remember them.  People also asked us if there was anything that they could do to help raise funds for the memorial.  This is a great way that everyone can get involved.

Why are we doing it?

We’re doing this to help raise funds for the Memorial. Every penny you donate goes straight to the memorial.

We also doing this to remember PC Mick Atkinson who recently passed away.  Mick was a dog handler for many years and loved his PDs.  We have spoken to his family and they are honoured that we are remembering him in this way.

Can I still get involved?

Absolutely. Just decide what you would like to do, as long as it is 200 of something.  All we ask is that if you wish to take part please make a £5.00 donation to the memorial and then raise as much as you can by getting people to sponsor you.

What’s in it for me?

At the end of the month the person who has raised the most money will receive an invite to the unveiling of the memorial next year.

How do I donate?

You can either donate via our Gofund me page, or via our new PayPal account.

Gofundme

Paypal

 

 

 

Welcome to the new K9 Memorial UK website

Our story

We thought that this would be a great opportunity to tell the story of how our journey began to those of you who are new to us.

I had always dreamed about being Police Dog Handler, since I saw a Police Dog van go flying past me when i was 13.

I joined Essex Police in 1987, and spent the next 13 years learning to be a cop, applying and failing to join the dog section many times. I finally succeeded in 2000, probably the best day in my life.

Sabre

My first ‘partner’ was Sabre, who was quickly nicknamed ‘Mr Sibbs’. We attended the dog school at Mount Browne in Surrey for our initial 13 week course, and what a ball we had. It was a paid hobby. I loved it. And I loved Mr Sibbs. He was my best buddy.

We returned to Essex and began working (if you could call it that). Our relationship began to grow. But it was becoming increasingly apparent that he wasn’t going to be the bravest of Police Dogs. That didn’t bother me. I was still so proud of him and we were a team, trusting and relying on each other.

But there is always an elephant in the room. One day I would lose him….

Then that day arrived, I was at my sister’s wedding. The day before I’d taken him to the vets as he had been a bit under the weather. So I’d asked the kennel girls to keep an eye on him.

During the afternoon I got ‘that’ call that every handler dreads.

“We’re so sorry Paul, we didn’t have any option.” They had taken him to the vets and found he had cancer and his spleen had ruptured. It was the kindest thing not to bring him round from the anaesthetic. It still haunts me to this day that I wasn’t with him when he went.

Starting K9 Memorial

I was heartbroken.

My world had fallen apart. I used to sit in his kennel and smell his blanket just to try to be close to him.

As time went by, I wanted to find a way to remember him. But in the U.K there was only a plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum.

I thought that our Police Dogs deserved to much more so I teamed up with Essex sculptor John Doubleday and we began our journey to create a memorial that reflects the remarkable service and sacrifice that our Police Dogs give.

We’ve added RPD Duke to our Tribute Wall

Born 2011 –  Surrey Police

RPD Duke  is 7.5 years old and retired in September this year.

He was a Firearms Support Dog with Surrey Police for 6 years, he was a very successful and extremely effective dog, especially tracking and in the FSD role.

He is extremely loving and now he his retired is learning that he doesn’t have to be on duty all the time!

His family are committed to giving him many new experiences to integrate him into his retirement. He even has his own Facebook page.

You can see all the other dogs from the Surrey and Sussex Tribute Wall by clicking here.

We’ve added RPD Anya to our Tribute Wall

2009-2016 Sussex Police

RPD Anya was only 7 when she passed away from cancer. She was a GPD in Sussex mainly patrolling West Sussex.

At 5.5 she was diagnosed with a collapsed lower spine and Mr Fitzpatrick from the Supervet agreed in completing a ground breaking operation to get her back to work.

Anya was featured on the series and had a successful operation, unfortunately her recovery took far too long and her adopted family received a desperate call to see if they could take her on as she did have some unique handling issues which meant she could not be re-homed in the normal process.

Her family said “Anya was an amazing dog who touched the hearts of everyone she met. She was so loving and generous with everyone it was very distressing when she became ill and we had to make the decision to put her to sleep just over a year after we took her on.”

You can see all the other dogs from the Surrey and Sussex Tribute Wall by clicking here.

We’ve added RPD George to our Tribute Wall

2005 -2013 Sussex Police

RPD George was the first ever retired police dog adopted by his family. He retired at the age of 8. He was a bit of a legend in East Sussex on patrol, at nearly 9.5 stone he always had a presence at any incident which 9 times out of 10 resulted in the total compliance of any suspect. He had a docked tail  and metal plates and pins in his front right paw from separate incidents whilst on duty.

George was your quintessential old timer..  a bit grumpy and loved a cup of tea and digestive biscuit and did everything in his own time!

George passed away in 2013 after suffering a spinal stroke.

His family said ” we are honoured to have been able to give George the retirement he deserved. We are passionate to spread the word about how RPDs need a good retirement home to live out their days in a happy and safe environment.”

You can see all the other dogs from the Surrey and Sussex Tribute Wall by clicking here.