Stray puppy set to become police sniffer dog
By Claire Hayhurst, PA
A stray puppy handed into a rescue centre two months ago is now set to become a police sniffer dog.
Raven was taken to Bristol Animal Rescue Centre after being found by a member of the public in June.
The crossbreed, estimated to be around nine months old, was not microchipped and no owner came forward to claim her.
During her behavioural assessment, staff noticed that she was obsessed with tennis balls and playing fetch.
They contacted Avon and Somerset Police to see if she was a good candidate to become a sniffer dog.
Dog trainer Pc Lee Webb adopted Raven on July 23 and she will now begin learning to detect drugs, firearms and cash.
Zita Polgar, senior behaviourist at the animal rescue centre, said: "Raven's obsession with finding and bringing back her ball made her an obvious contender to hopefully become a sniffer dog.
"She would play for hours and if the ball was lost, she would use her sense of smell to find it.
"We contacted the constabulary and they came to meet Raven and it was an almost immediate yes.
"They thought she would make an ideal candidate for the job.
"We are absolutely thrilled that Raven will have both a very good, stable home as well as a very important job in the city.
"It is amazing that a stray dog will go on to perform a huge civic duty. We are very proud of her."
During her training, Raven will be introduced to other dogs and environments, including schools and colleges.
This exposure to different sights, sounds and smells is aimed at setting her up well to pass her assessment later this year.
She will be encouraged to use her instincts while detecting drugs, firearms and cash and will be rewarded for good work.
Pc Webb said: "She has settled at home and enjoys the company of the other dogs.
"Once she has settled fully, I will begin to take her to lots of different places and see how she reacts, especially when it comes to retrieving and searching for a tennis ball.
"She loves to play, and first indications have been very good."