Starving, scared and sick, his future looked bleak when he was found dumped in a bucket as a puppy.
But Badger the cocker spaniel has grown up to become a ‘crime-fighting hero’ after being rescued by the RSPCA and trained by the police as a sniffer dog.
PC Steph Barrett, who works with Badger at Surrey and Sussex Police Dog Unit, said: ‘After a lot of love and training, he has regained trust in humans. He’s still got that cheeky side, but he’s obsessed with work. He makes me smile all day.’
Badger the cocker spaniel has grown up to become a ‘crime-fighting hero’ after being rescued by the RSPCA and trained by the police as a sniffer dog
Badger was found dumped in a bucket as a puppy at six weeks old and has gone on to help the police. Pictured: Badger now with PC Steph Barrett, who works with Badger at Surrey and Sussex Police Dog Unit
Badger and three other pups were abandoned in Redhill, Surrey, in July last year aged six weeks.
They were almost bald due to severe mange, had chronic eye and ear infections, and were extremely malnourished.
The puppies were later rehomed, but energetic Badger struggled in his new family and was returned to the RSPCA – who realised he was a good fit for the police.
Jo Douglas, who cared for Badger at the RSPCA, said: ‘It’s been incredible to see the transformation from frightened, poorly puppy to a brave and clever crime-fighting hero.’
hey were almost bald due to severe mange, had chronic eye and ear infections, and were extremely malnourished
After weeks of treatment, the puppies were rehomed to loving families. But Badger struggled in his new home and was returned to the centre.
Ms Douglas said: ‘He was always on the go and needed constant stimulation – he was just too much for his adopters so he came back to us. We kept him busy by hiding tennis balls around the centre and playing scent games with him.
‘He absolutely loved it – and was really good at following his nose and finding them so we contacted the police to see if they’d be interested in taking him on as a new recruit.’
Badger, now aged 20 months, joined the police dog training programme and qualified as a sniffer dog six months ago.
The RSPCA has worked successfully with a number of police dog units up and down the country and has seen dozens of unwanted, neglected and abandoned dogs go on to become successful police dogs and sniffer dogs.