Rescue dog Charlie is on paw patrol

A Springer Spaniel who was handed in to Dogs Trust Leeds has started a new life in law enforcement, having passed his training to be a specialist police dog.

One-year old Charlies owners gave him up when he was five months old after realising they weren’t ready for a dog. But just a few weeks after arriving at the rehoming centre in Leeds, the spritely springer spaniel caught the eye of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Police Dog Unit who saw his potential to be a Drugs, Cash and Weapons (DCW) dog.

DCW dogs need to be bold and busy dogs who love to play. They need to be determined and inquisitive, and the police often choose Spaniels and Labradors for the role as they usually display all of these characteristics.

After meeting Charlie at Dogs Trust Leeds, the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Police Dog Unit adopted him and began his training to become a specialist police dog.

Inspector Iain Clark from the BCH Dog Unit said: “Charlie is a very happy and busy dog who just loves to play. The DCW training is all based on play and reward, so as soon as Charlie finds what he is looking for and lets us know, he gets a treat – to play with his favourite toy. Technically Charlie is working for us, but to him it’s all playtime and he thrives on it.”

Having passed his 6-week training programme with flying colours, Charlie now works with his handler in the combines forces dog unit, going along to crime scenes to help sniff out drugs, cash and weapons.

Once his shift finishes, Charlie goes home with his handler to put his paws up after a busy day of play. On his rest days, he spends some quality time with his handler and their family.

Inspector Clark added: “The life of a police dog is very different to what many people imagine. Dogs like Charlie live and work with the same handler day in, day out and all our handlers are dog-lovers first and foremost. It’s a really very good life, where the dogs get to play and be with someone all day, while also doing an important job on behalf of the police.”

Amanda Sands, rehoming centre manager at Dogs Trust Leeds said: “We are delighted to see that Charlie’s energy and enthusiasm is being put to good use and that we have been able to change his tale from an unwanted puppy to a specialist police dog. Charlie is a lovely dog who likes to keep busy, so this role with the police really suits him down to the ground. And with a loving family to go back to at night too, it sounds like he’s really landed on his paws.”

Dogs Trust rehoming centres in England are currently closed to members of the public but they are still able to rehome some of their dogs, using a socially distanced ‘handover at home’ process.

If you have space in your heart to give a dog a new home, now and after lockdown, you can view the dogs up for adoption on the Dogs Trust website.