Puppy walker needed for future police dog 'Betty'

First published in Devon

Police dog handlers are trying to track down a temporary home for a new puppy before she begins her police training.

Betty, an 11-week-old German shepherd, needs a home for nine months to help with socialisation prior to embarking on her new career.

She is too young to start intensive training so police require a family to home her with until her first birthday.

Once a fully-trained general purpose police dog she will be able to assist tracking missing people, locate stolen property, chase and detain suspects and keep order in crowd control situations.

Paul Glennon, canine development officer for the force, said: “Betty underwent her routine medical along with her three brothers to start in the puppy scheme but unfortunately was diagnosed with a heart murmur.

"Veterinary advice was the murmur would prevent her being a police dog. Plans were put in place to find her a suitable pet home subject to a full cardiac specialist examination to determine the level of future care she might need. The cardiac specialist found there was nothing serious to worry about and passed her fit to start on her journey to be a police dog.

"Her three brothers are currently all with their new puppy walker families and we are now keen to find a family for Betty.

"Since she was diagnosed two weeks ago she has been living with our canine development officer pending seeing the cardiac specialist.

"We are now keen for her to follow her brothers in a new home with her own puppy walker.

“What is most important is that we find the right people who have the time, patience and determination to give our dogs the best start in life.

“All puppy walkers must have a settled family background, a secure garden and are willing to undertake daily exercise, grooming and care with the dog.

“Ideal applicants will have previous experience caring for dogs but what is most important to us is that they share our aim to produce a well-balanced, confident and social dog.

“It is very rewarding for both the dog and the family, and maybe the hardest thing will be handing her back when she is ready.”

Police are looking for a puppy walker to provide a loving home and to expose her to as wide a variety of situations as possible such as a bustling town centre, crowds, traffic, etc.

Throughout the year the family will receive training and socialisation advice from the Police Dog Training School. The force also pays for any food and veterinary bills during the year. Anyone interested in becoming a puppy walker who meets the criteria is asked to please call the Dog Training School on 01392 452410.

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