Retired PSNI dog walking again after charity funds emergency surgery
A former PSNI sniffer dog has been helped to walk again after a charity which helps ex service animals funded his emergency surgery after he ruptured his cruciate.
Springer spaniel Sam was rescued as an unwanted stray in 2013 and joined the PSNI at the age of 10-months, teaming up with dog handler Emma and assisting with the recovery of cash, drugs and firearms for more than six years.
“Sam was rescued by a local charity after coming into a council pound as an unwanted stray. He was rehomed twice but returned to them for being too hyper,” said Emma.
“We assessed him and felt he’d be a great sniffer dog so he joined me and passed all of his assessments with flying colours.
“He became a proactive cash, drugs and firearms search dog and worked on countless operations throughout Northern Ireland for more than six years.
“We also visited schools and community groups across the religious divide, where he won everyone over with his gorgeous nature.”
After retiring in 2021 Sam stayed with Emma as her pet but while on a walk ruptured his cruciate ligament and required emergency surgery and follow up treatment.
The injury and subsequent £2,000 costs required the assistance of the Thin Blue Paw Foundation a UK charity that supports retired police dogs.
Despite his surgery going well, in another blow he then suffered from nystagmus, a condition affecting his vision, while in recovery and therefore had an extended stay at the vets.
“It was such a huge relief when I could bring him home,” Emma explained.
“Thankfully he soon started wagging his tail again and eating well, although he hated being on crate rest. It’s taken him weeks to recover but the vets are delighted with his progress.
“He’s started short walks again but soon he’ll be able to run and play again, just like he used to.”
Thin Blue Paw Foundation trustee Gemma Wardell added: “Police dogs give up the best years of their lives to fight crime and protect their communities.
“They love their job as it’s a big game to them, but it’s a strenuous life and it can take its toll on their bodies.
“These dogs are the unsung heroes of the police and they deserve to have long, happy and healthy retirements.
“That’s why we launched the Thin Blue Paw Foundation; to ensure dogs have access to the very best treatment to enable them to enjoy their retirements to the fullest, without the pressure falling solely to their owners who may not always be able to afford the treatment they need.”