Manchester Terror Attack Police Dog Is Still Mentally Scarred
In Manchester and beyond, the events of 22 May will never be forgotten.
The arena terror attack, which took the lives of 22 people at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, presented us with many distressing images and tragic stories.
However, human lives weren't the only ones that were affected. Mojo the dog was part of the first police team to arrive at the arena, following the first calls of an explosion at 22.30 BST.
His owner, PC Phil Healey, has spoken of how the dog has been left mentally scarred by what he saw that night, suffering from stress-related alopecia, and still isn't back to his normal self.
Mojo is slowly improving in his well-being, and both were present at the re-opening of the Manchester Arena on Saturday, after being asked if they wanted to work.
Speaking to the Mirror Online, PC Healy said: "Mojo has been a great dog for me over the years and he is very much part of the family.
"On the night of the arena attack, it was such a long, long day - he did 11 hours of searching there.
Credit: Manchester Evening News
"About a week afterwards, Mojo developed stress-related alopecia. His hair started falling out and we are sure it was brought on by that night.
"Fortunately, it's starting to grow back now. There are still some patches but hopefully he will be back to his fluffy pom-pom self again soon.
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"After the incident, we gave him a lot of down time, increased his food intake and gave him special energy pouches of food when he needed to get back to work."
And yet, PC Healy added, something still isn't right with Mojo. He described him as being at 90 percent.
He added: "The dogs pick up on how we feel. Regardless of how much training you do, you are never equipped to walk into what we walked into that night. You could see it in his face, he didn't want to be there. Nobody did, but we had a job to do.
"At one point he kind of looked back to say, 'are we really doing this, dad?' And it was like, 'unfortunately, son, yes we are.'"
The pair had been back to the arena a few times before Saturday's reopening, and Mojo was 'happy to get on with things' but now works closely with PC Healy to help him, rather than working with the police force.
"We've got a job to do, so we get on with it. We will not be beaten."
Healey said that Saturday's We Are Manchester Concert was a strange event.
"I think the hardest part was seeing the faces of those who have come back for the first time... A couple of families came over and spoke to me. You could see - they had young children in their early teens - they had tears in their eyes."
He continued: "There have been ups and downs and there are days it has come back and haunted me. But slowly and surely, I'm getting over everything that has happened. The job has made sure we have had counselling and that's still ongoing.
"Being here is proving that we won't be beaten. We can carry on and people are coming in their thousands to prove they can carry on."
Featured Image Credit: Manchester Evening News