The Life of a Police and Fire dog

Why do we want to help?

Not many of you will know the details around the life of our Police and Fire dogs. This is something we find important to inform the public about, of which you are always interested and intrigued to find out about.

All of the dogs that work for the Police Service and Fire Service have some form of specialist skills, with different breeds of dogs being used for certain tasks.

The Police and Fire service use the natural ability of each dog and their desire to work to complete these skills. So instead of hunting for birds for example, the dogs are trained to search for people, drugs, explosives, digital storage devices, weapons and cash. 

German Shepherds, Dutch Herders and Belgium Malinois are normally used for our General Purpose police and Firearms support dog roles. This includes;

  • Tracking offenders and missing people
  • Searching open areas for offenders and missing people
  • Assisting in violent public order situations
  • Chasing and detaining offenders
  • Searching for property discarded
  • Protecting the handler and police officers
  • Assisting specialist firearms units with searches and containments

Our Spaniels and Labradors are used as our specialist dogs and complete the following search roles;

  • Drugs
  • Cash
  • Firearms
  • Explosives
  • Digital storage devices

The Fire dogs used are normally a Labrador or Spaniel and they complete the following roles;

  • Detecting accelerants
  • Searching for people

Eventually the time will come for all of the above skilled dogs to retire. This normally happens around the age of 7 – 9 years of age for General Purpose dogs and a little bit older for the Labradors and Spaniels.  All are watched and their health comes first when decisions of when to retire them are made.

When it comes to the time to retire them, it can be a very emotional for the handler. Handlers will normally get the first choice to keep them, however this is not always possible and in the best interest of the dog. It may be the handler wishes to take on a new police dog and they do not have the home life to facilitate keeping their retired dog, or if they leave the dog section and their new role does not enable the proper care of the now retired dog. Every situation is different, but every situation is very emotionally difficult as the time spent with the dog forms an incredible bond between them and their handler.

Wherever the dog goes, be it staying with the handler or moving onto a new family willing to give the dog a perfect retirement, they knowingly take on responsibility for caring for the dog and any financial implications which come with that.

So this is where Pawsome Pensions want to help. As stated already, we are very lucky in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall Police that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner provide a one off payment for a retiring police dog. However those of you who own a dog know that there is a potential for this to not last very long at all as vets bills can be very expensive depending on the problem. It has been estimated that the payment will last approximately 18 months for a German Shepard for feeding and any routine veterinary care.

So we want to ensure we can help the dogs, by assisting with their veterinary care ensuring that animal welfare is the absolute priority.

Registered Charity: 1188907