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‘Unruly And Untrainable’ Labrador Becomes Fire And Rescue Service Search Dog

Hannah Blackiston


‘Unruly And Untrainable’ Labrador Becomes Fire And Rescue Service Search Dog

Bailey, a stray labrador who was described as 'unruly, untrainable, unsociable, rude and stubborn', has proven the haters wrong and found a new life as a service dog.

Dogs Trust in Loughborough in Britain asked if someone out there was able to take Bailey home and were worried the pooch was a lost cause because of his complex nature.

But Essex Fire Service dog handler Graham Currie came to the rescue, and Bailey soon proved his natural talents.

Currie told the BBC he had been looking for a new dog to train and while he knew labradors had a reputation of being 'greedy', he soon discovered there was something Bailey loved more than food.

"After testing Bailey's drive for a tennis ball and checking he had no aggression towards other dogs or people, I offered to take him on a six-week trial," he said.

"The biggest thing was getting him in the van because he associated it with being taken to a compound, but within 24 hours he was taught to associate it with fun."

Currie said he was looking for a more traditional 'seeking' dog, like a spaniel, but when he worked with Bailey he identified a 'drive' that could be used in search and rescue.

"He was described as unruly, untrainable, unsociable, rude and stubborn. But a dog that cost us £185 has turned out to be the most incredible creature," Currie revealed.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

In fact, Currie said Bailey was 'one of the most natural search dogs' he had ever seen. There's a metaphor in here somewhere about finding your purpose in life, but I'm crying too much to identify it.

"He's like a mountain goat - nothing fazes him, he has no fears or phobias," said Currie.

Bailey will be on duty with the organisation as early as April next year, despite the fact it can take up to three years to traditionally train a search dog.

"A police trainer and colleague said if we could clone this dog, all our problems would be solved," Currie added.

Bailey's natural ability to find hidden toys made him perfect for the role of finding and rescuing people trapped or lost in emergency situations.

Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service
Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

He will become one of 20 dogs used by Urban Search and Rescue teams in the UK and will be part of the UK International Search and Rescue once he is fully trained.

As part of his job, he will get to attend disaster zones around the world trying to find trapped people.

"By the third day, I was 95 per cent sure he was the one. In the vehicle barn, there was rugby ball on a ledge above the gym weights and he wouldn't give up until he got it - that's the kind of determination we are looking for in a search dog," said Currie.

Bailey has even earned himself the nickname of 'Polar Bear' because of his size.

Bailey will be taking over from Jarvis, an eight-year-old cocker spaniel, when he retires. Doggo Succession, we love to see it.

Featured Image Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Topics: Dog, News

Hannah Blackiston
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