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.
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.