A former Humberside Police sniffer dog has been given money for life-saving treatment by a welfare charity that supports retired force pups.
Springer spaniel Bailey, 10, worked as a cash, drugs, and weapons detection dog for Humberside Police for more than eight years, joining the force at 14 months old and being partnered with PC Chris Wright when his previous handler retired in 2015.
There were many successful searches between Chris and Bailey over the years, including helping uncover a large drug dealing ring when he located 1.5kg of cocaine in a shop near Hull.
Chris, from Grimsby, had to leave the dog section due to health problems, but was able to take Bailey and his general purpose dog – a German Shepherd called Pedro – with him in retirement as adopted pets.
Chris, who now works in the police intelligence department, said: “I’d worked in the dog section for 20 years and had many dogs but Bailey was brilliant. He never let me down.
“Bailey is a typical springer – he’s mad! He never runs out of energy, never stops looking or searching, and that makes him great at his job. Really, he does it all for the love of his tennis ball.”
Police dogs receive no financial assistance from the force they served when they retire, and they can be very difficult to insure given the hard lives they have had.
This was an issue that Chris was starting to realise, and he eventually registered Bailey and Pedro to Thin Blue Paw Foundation, a UK dog welfare charity that protects and supports working and retired police pups.
The charity provides financial assistance to owners, ensuring they can afford veterinary treatment, and that was absolutely needed for Chris and Bailey last month.
On April 8, Chris came downstairs at his Grimsby home to see Bailey collapsed in his kennel, surrounded by vomit and diarrhoea, and he rushed him to the vets.
The dog was diagnosed with Cushings disease, which is caused by a hormonal imbalance, and vets said he fell ill due to an infection. Chris was faced with a £1,500 bill for the treatment, that will be covered by the Thin Blue Paw Foundation.
Bailey will need lifelong treatment to manage his disease, as well as regular check-ups, so the support of the foundation is absolutely vital for Chris as he seeks to provide the best possible quality of life for his furry friend.
Thin Blue Paw trustee Dave Wardell said: “Poor Bailey was on the brink of death and needed costly but life-saving emergency treatment to nurse him back to health.
“This is a traumatic situation for any dog owner to find themselves in; but the adopters of retired police dogs not only have to make difficult decisions with the best interests of their pet in mind, but also with their finances in mind.
“While those of us with pet dogs can take our insurance policies to help us should the worst happen and our beloved dog need life-saving treatment; it’s almost impossible to insure retired police dogs due to the strenuous working lives they’ve led.
“We founded the charity because we wanted to ensure that no owners, like Chris, would be in a position where they’d have to choose between putting food on the table and paying their bills, or paying for treatment for their dog.
“These dogs are unsung heroes who have dedicated their lives to fighting crime, bringing criminals to justice, and keeping the public safe. The least they, and their owners, deserve is a happy and healthy retirement.”