Spaniel Puppy Found Dumped In A Bucket Becomes Police Sniffer Dog
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***WARNING: CONTAINS UPSETTING IMAGES***
Badger was one of four six-week-old cocker spaniels discovered abandoned in a garden in Redhill, Surrey, in July 2019.
The poor pups were almost bald due to severe mange, had chronic eye and ear infections, and were extremely malnourished and underweight.
They were subsequently taken in by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' (RSPCA) Millbrook Animal Centre.
Jo Douglas, from the centre, said: "The poor puppies were in a real state. They needed four different types of eye drops and two ear drops which had to be administered four times a day, plus medicated baths for their skin."
After weeks of treatment the puppies - who were initially named after Stranger Things characters, El, Lucas, Mike and Dustin (now renamed Badger) - were rehomed.
All of them thrived in their new loving homes, except for Dustin, who proved too much to handle and was returned to the centre.
However, this was just the start of an exciting new chapter for the pooch.
Jo said: "Dustin was always on the go and needed constant stimulation and, sadly, he was just too much for his new owners so he came back to us.
"We kept him busy by hiding tennis balls around the centre and playing scent games with him.
"He loved it and was really good at following his nose so we contacted the police to see if they'd be interested in taking him on as a new recruit."
Dustin subsequently joined the Surrey and Sussex Police Dog Unit's training programme and qualified as a sniffer dog six months ago.
He was paired with PC Steph Barrett, who renamed him Badger, and he now spends his days sniffing out drugs, weapons and cash.
Steph said: "I was saddened to hear how Badger had been dumped on the side of the road but, thanks to the RSPCA, he's been given a second chance.
"After a lot of love and training, he has regained trust in humans and become a real success story. He's still very mischievous at times, but that's all part of the challenge.
"When he hears the radio go off he squeals with excitement and I don't even have to ask him to get in the van. He's a joy to work with. He's hard not to love.
"He's still got that cheeky side to him but he's obsessed with work and he makes me smile all day."
PD Badger has secured numerous finds on the job already, including a substantial quantity of cash and drugs, and a mobile phone found hidden within the grounds of a church.