Congratulations to PD Ernie, who was licensed on Thursday 8 October.
Ernie will live with his new dog hander PC Lou Grabham. Lou also has PD Ollie and until recently PD Eddie. Lou tells us about the difficulties of having to make a hard decision to retire Eddie early.
“A few weeks ago I had to re-home Eddie, Ernie's brother. Not every dog can or wants to be a police dog. Eddie was inconsistent and despite our best efforts it was decided that police work was too stressful for him. There were tears as I dropped him off, you can't help falling in love with them. But there is a happy ending finding him a perfect home with a family in Weston-super-Mare and their three dogs. His welfare is paramount.”
Ernie is based at Express Park and will work alongside Springer Spaniel Ollie.
“I feel extremely privileged to have been given the opportunity to handle PD Ernie, a three and a half year old German Shepherd bred by the constabulary from the 'E' litter"
PC Guy Williams from our training department had him since he was 12 weeks old and devoted many hours training him. I'm sure handing him over must have been hard."
Lou is often asked if her dogs live at home with her. Lou says: “The simple answer is yes, but they do far more than that. Our Police dogs become family members with an incredible bond, capable of switching off and fitting in with the routine of days off and shifts. I say days off but I'm know I'm not alone doing 'things' on these days to keep our training up to the highest standard possible and their minds occupied.
“Some handlers keep their dogs after retirement, it depends on the dog and commitments but I have found that they move on very quickly and love the hand that feeds them, it's us that struggle!”
You can track Ernie’s progress on twitter: @ASPoliceDogs