This Thursday (16 June) will mark the start of a whole new adventure for RSPCA rescue dog Boris, as he graduates search dog training school. The two-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier will be helping Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire police stop criminals in their tracks – a career world’s apart from his previous life.
Boris was brought in to RSPCA’s West Hatch Animal Centre near Taunton in Somerset in March this year by an RSPCA inspector after being given up by his previous owner. He was living in difficult conditions with a large number of dogs and was suffering from a skin condition, from which he has now fully recovered.
Sue Dicks, supervisor at the RSPCA centre, said: “All the dogs in our care are special in their own way, but I just knew the minute I saw Boris that he was going to stand out from the crowd.
“The trainer at the police force, PC Lee Webb, was in the centre the day Boris arrived and I jokingly pointed out that we may have just taken on his next search dog – I couldn’t have been more spot on.
“Boris was a friendly, lovely boy and very confident from the start – he’s just so brilliant with people and other dogs.
“I noticed quite quickly that he had a real love for tennis balls, he absolutely lives for them! Most dogs get bored after a while but Boris was really focused – he found the ball when I hid it, even in some rather difficult places like up trees! That was when I knew for sure he would make a great police search dog.
“I’m delighted that Boris is going on to be an important member of the local police force. He will also be joining our wall of fame of rescue dogs at West Hatch that have all gone on to be working service dogs, we really could not be prouder.”
PC Lee Webb, who has been training Boris to join the force, was the first handler in the country to train a Staffie-cross as a drugs dog, and this is the twelfth he has taken on from RSPCA West Hatch to work with Avon and Somerset Police. Boris will be working alongside the police to sniff out drugs, firearms and currency.
PC Webb said: “He was first spotted about three months ago and started training properly five weeks ago, but as of this week he will become a fully licensed police sniffer dog.
“Good police dogs need to have an above average ability to retrieve, great stamina, good health and an even temperament.
“This is why staffies work so well as they have a dogged determination and a drive to retrieve but are also very loyal and eager to please.
“Boris is a great dog who has worked really hard and I know he will have a great career ahead of him.
“I’m pleased to support the less traditional breeds of police sniffer dogs and to raise awareness of staffies as a breed.”
Boris will be the fifth rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier from the RSPCA’s West Hatch animal centre to join the police force.
Boris with trainer PC Webb (left) and his new handler PC Alan Mallett (right)