Unwanted pups have new lease of life - helping police fight terrorism
Northumbria Police has been working closely with Dogs Trust to see if any of the puppies in the charity’s care could find a career as a K9.
In the past year, the charity has donated three puppies to the force's dog section to be trained in how to search for drugs, cash and weapons.
Two of the dogs - Bracken and Minnie - are still undergoing their training before taking to the streets as fully-qualified police pups.
But, two-year-old Alfie has already made the grade as a working dog - and has now even passed a course to fight terrorism.
The clever cocker spaniel has qualified as an explosive detection dog which means it will be up to him to sniff out any suspicious items ahead of major events or sports matches.
Dog handler, PC Paul Cooper, said the dogs are great additions to the team and added that every K9 returns home at the end of their shift to a loving family.
He said: "We have worked with Dogs Trust now for around a year and a number of fantastic puppies have joined the force from the charity.
"All of our police dogs also live with their handlers so it means that any dog abandoned and handed in to them will be going to a loving home if they join us here in Northumbria.
"Dogs which are boisterous and full of life can sometimes be tough for families who just want them as pets to manage and they end up handing them in to a charity like the Dogs Trust.
"But those type of dogs often make the best police dogs and do loads of work that helps take criminals off the street and keep our communities safe.
"Alfie started his life at the charity but he has now passed his explosive detection course and will be deployed at major events and sporting occasions as a counter-terror measure.
"That is a fantastic journey; to go from an abandoned pup to a potential life-saver and we are incredibly proud of both him and of Bracken and Minnie who are doing really well in their training.
"A career in the police really could be a match made in heaven for some of these dogs. We love them all and we are so proud of each and every one of them."
Sue Embleton, Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Darlington, said: "It is exceptionally rewarding when our canine residents go on to become part of loving families; even more so when a dog’s natural abilities can be utilised for such valuable causes in society.
"Cases such as this are a testament to the great working relationships Dogs Trust has with local authorities which ensure many dogs are given the chance to fulfil their potential as family pets; and in Bracken, Minnie and Alfie’s case, go on to potentially save lives as well.
“We are honoured to support Northumbria Police in their pursuit of police dogs, as Dogs Trust residents who go into their care lead fantastic lives with their handlers.
"Our specialised teams based at our rehoming centres are always on the lookout for canine residents with traits and an aptitude for learning that might make them the next potential K9.
"We look forward to hearing how Bracken and Minnie get on with their training and wish them and Alfie all the best for the future.”
Alfie and Chocolate Labrador Bracken met up with Dogs Trust staff, as well as 13-year-old Lurcher, Meg, who was found abandoned and tied to a gas canister, and is now looking for a new home.
For more information about Dogs Trust, including how to donate to the charity or take home a dog like Meg, visit their website at www.dogstrust.org.uk.