Barking Heads pledges to feed the nation’s BRAVEST dogs for the rest of their lives!

Natural pet food brand, Barking Heads, is donating a LIFETIME’S worth of food to the retired police dogs of the Thin Blue Paw Foundation.

Barking Heads is proud partner to the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, the national charity supporting serving and retired police dogs from across the United Kingdom and from 2022 will become the charity’s exclusive pet food partner, feeding every canine member of the foundation…FOR LIFE!

Unable to get pet insurance due to their working life, many ex-police pups are left with ongoing vet bills which can amount to thousands. The Thin Blue Paw Foundation provides much needed financial support to over 280 unsung canine heroes and their owners to enable them to have a long and happy retirement.

On Tuesday night (14th September 2021), the Barking Heads team, including Barking Heads in-house and This Morning vet, Dr Scott Miller, attended The Thin Blue Paw Awards at Knebworth House, where six police dogs and handlers were honoured for their bravery, life-saving actions and crime-fighting dedication.

The event was hosted by BBC News presenter Rich Preston and Dr Scott Miller was joined by Barking Heads Marketing Director, Julia Anderton, giving out two of the awards.

The Barking Heads partnership with the Thin Blue Paw foundation is a heartfelt focus for the dog-owning (dog obsessed) team at Barking Heads, who were recently treated to a visit by Thin Blue Paw trustee, PC Dave Wardell and Police Dog Finn, who sustained life threatening injuries in the line of duty.

Barking Heads Marketing Director, Julia Anderton says: “Meeting these incredible dogs and their handlers was very emotional for our team. The foundation’s work, and the dogs it cares for, has touched us deeply as dog lovers and we all feel immensely proud to be a Thin Blue Paw partner. We really want to help spread the word about the amazing work they do.  The whole Barking Heads family want to say our thank you by committing to feed every retired police dog registered with the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, Barking Heads, on us, for the rest of their lives. It is the least we can do, and we are thankful to the foundation for allowing us to do that. We are also committed to finding more ways to try and support the charity going forward.”

Co-founder and trustee of the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, Kieran Stanbridge, says: “We’re thrilled to have Barking Heads onboard as our official dog food partner and we’re overwhelmed by their generous offer to provide free food to all retired police dogs who are registered with the Thin Blue Paw.

“Taking on any dog is a big responsibility but taking on a retired police dog can bring with it many challenges due to the tough working lives they’ve led beforehand. We were founded to help retired police dog owners with veterinary bills and costs associated with managing and treating health problems, and this amazing offer by Barking Heads will also alleviate another financial burden and mean that these unsung canine heroes will be well-fed for the rest of their lives.”

On the night, six awards were handed out to dogs, handlers and partnerships:

 Outstanding bravery: PD Stark and PC Paul Hopley

West Midlands Police duo PD Stark and PC Paul Hopley, from Staffordshire, leapt into action when they were called to allotments to reports of attempted break-ins in the early hours on 14 December 2020. Stark set off to find the offender and soon located a man, giving chase. But the suspect turned on Stark and struck him repeatedly around the head with a machete. As PC Hopley discharged his incapacitant spray, allowing Stark to detain him and drag him away from the dropped knife. Stark was covered in blood and had suffered a number of lacerations to his face. He needed emergency veterinary treatment, stitches and four weeks off work before bravely returning to duty.

Lifesaver: PD Calli and PC Megan West

This Kent Police pair responded to an emergency call in June 2021 from a man in crisis saying he was going to commit suicide. He’d given a few clues as to his whereabouts and PD Callie and PC Megan West were deployed in an attempt to find him. In just 10 minutes, Calli had managed to pick up and follow a scent just as PC West saw the man jump from a tree with a rope around his neck. They were able to cut him free and commence emergency first aid while requesting support from paramedics. He made a full recovery and has since been able to seek the help he needed.

Crime fighting duo: PD Bart and PC Kelly Walker

PD Bart and PC Kelly Walker have been working together on behalf of Cheshire Police and North Wales Police for four years. The duo work across a huge area to support all units and assist with firearms support, high-risk missing persons, and tracking from scenes of crime, as well as supporting new handlers into the team. PC Walker has helped to design a new body armour for general purpose dogs, with Bart trialing the design, and the pair are helping to keep police dogs across the nation safe.

Rising star: PD Elvis and PC Colin Nash

Two-year-old Labrador PD Elvis was licensed as a passive and proactive drug detection dog with City of London Police in March 2020 and has gone from strength-to-strength since. His nose has helped to take numerous knives off the streets and identified victims being used for county lines drugs. But his nose has also got him into some trouble; like devouring someone’s Nando’s takeaway, leaving handler, PC Colin Nash from Suffolk, red-faced!

Lifetime achievement: PD Nala and PC Sean Foster

Northamptonshire Police officer Sean Foster and his dog, Nala, were licensed in February 2014 and went on to have an incredible career. In 2016 while responding to reports of an aggravated burglary, Nala was struck around the face with a crowbar but, despite her injuries, tracked two missing suspects who were hiding under a caravan. Two years later, Nala helped track two suspects who had fled from a vehicle stop and search and, in 2020, she went after burglars who’d escaped through a residential estate. Despite the area being cleared by the police helicopter, Nala spent two hours searching gardens and found a suspect hiding. Just before her retirement, in April 2021, she caught and held a man as he attempted to flee following a car chase despite him trying to choke her.

Special recognition: PC Darren Sewell  

Leicestershire Police officer Darren Sewell has been a frontline officer for 22 years, a dog handler and firearms support handler for 16 years, and a trainer for four years. He has been an incredible ambassador for police dogs and his life revolves around the dogs and their welfare. He cares for PD Jura and PD Gilly, as well as helping run on puppies for neighbouring forces. In 2020, he was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma (cancer) and underwent chemotherapy treatment while continuing to care for his pack, train and run on Jura, and prepare for their return to duty.

To find out more about the Thin Blue Paw Foundation and the awards, visit www.thinbluepaw.org.uk/awards.