AFTER eight years on the beat, Boscoe the police dog is hanging up his lead to enjoy the good life.
The spritely German shepherd has enjoyed a lengthy career alongside handler PC Marty Gingell as a firearms support and public order dog, but retirement beckons for the Durham Constabulary canine.
PD Boscoe’s official retirement ceremony will take place on Sunday at the first ever DogWise event at Beamish, and PC Gingell admitted it will be an emotional day saying goodbye to the dog he has brought up since puppyhood.
The officer said: “Boscoe and I have been a team since he was a very small puppy and have a great bond, which relies on trust and understanding.
“It will be a sad day on Sunday when he finally retires, but I know that he will have a great life with his new owners.”
Boscoe was bred by Durham Constabulary in January 2005, specifically to be a general purpose police dog. He has been handled by PC Gingell since he was young and, when not at work, he lived at home with the PC and his family.
He has also shared his handler and home with specialist police dogs over the years, such as PD Moses, an explosive detection dog, and PD Blue, a drugs detection dog.
Boscoe qualified as a fully operational police dog in 2006 and he then went on to successfully complete training as a firearms support dog and a public order dog. Over the years, he has also taken a starring role in many demonstrations and displays.
Following a special ceremony and presentation on Sunday, Boscoe will be handed over to his new owners, where he will begin his new, more relaxed, life in the countryside.
His retirement coincides with the launch of Paws Up charity – Durham Constabulary’s Retired Police Dog Benevolent Fund – which aims to raise money to help pay for the costs involved in caring for dogs once they retire from the force.
Sgt Sue Madsen said: “Once police dogs retire from the force the costs involved in looking after them are no longer borne by the constabulary.
“When the dogs retire at the age of seven or eight they are at an age which makes them difficult to insure and, naturally, as they get older, they are more likely to suffer health problems and require veterinary care.
“They also continue to need routine vaccinations and health check-ups. Paws Up has been set up in the hope that it will become a pension fund for police dogs to ease the financial burden on the person caring for them in retirement.
“PD Boscoe has had an exemplary career while serving the public of County Durham and Darlington over the last eight years. With the help of the newly formed Paws Up charity, he is now looking forward to a comfortable, well-deserved retirement.”
Taking place on the events field at Beamish on Sunday, Durham Constabulary’s DogWise is being launched to promote all aspects of dog health and wellbeing.
Activities during the day will include police dog displays, K9 pursuits, demonstrations and gun dog shows. Dog owners will also have the chance to take their pet over a mini-agility course. There will be animal welfare advice available from charities including the RSPCA, the Dogs Trust, Guide Dogs UK and the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. The Durham Agency Against Crime’s community safety labradors Jet and Ben will be attending with handler PCSO Claire Kerr.
DogWise starts at 11am and will close at 5pm. For more information visit www.pawsup.org.uk