Rescue dog starts new life as specialist search dog at Stansted Airport

PUBLISHED: 10:30 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:30 14 March 2018

Picture: Essex Police

Picture: Essex Police

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A rescue dog is beginning a new life as a specialist search dog with an Essex Police officer at Stansted Airport.

Boots with handler PC Mark Rickwood and Chief Supt Rachel Nolan. Picture: Essex PoliceBoots with handler PC Mark Rickwood and Chief Supt Rachel Nolan. Picture: Essex Police

Boots, a former stray, came to the Dog Unit from The Dogs Trust and is now able to ‘sniff out’ illegal substances and cash.

The 18-month-old Labrador crossbreed was taken in by the charity at their Basildon kennels after being found homeless last August.

He was given a new home after trainers at the Dog Unit suspected he had potential to be a successful working dog.

Paired with handler PC Mark Rickwood, Boots began training towards the end of January 2018 and ‘passed out’ as a fully licensed search dog on Friday, March 2.

Picture: Essex PolicePicture: Essex Police

He’s now capable of detecting a number of currencies as well as drugs including cocaine and heroin.

The duo are now based at Stansted Airport and are putting their training into practice checking passengers and their luggage.

PC Mark Rickwood said: “When Boots first arrived at our kennels he was very timid and shy but he’s really come out of his shell and is growing in confidence every day.

“We don’t know an awful lot about his background but he showed all the signs of being a great working dog and did brilliantly in his training.

Picture: Essex PolicePicture: Essex Police

“I’m new to the Dog Unit and Boots is my first working dog. I feel really lucky to have him. He’s a really driven dog who is at his happiest when he’s working.”

PC Andy Gaw, Boots’ trainer, said: “It was a pleasure to have Boots on the course. He showed the right attributes from the first day – I just needed to channel his energy and enthusiasm. He was keen to learn, very driven and bonded well with PC Rickwood.

“Boots improved with every day of the course and is now a happy confident search dog doing a job he loves. I wish the team all the best in their new role and look forward to hearing about their successes.”

Lisa Cooper, Dogs Trust Basildon Rehoming Centre Manager, said: “When Boots came to us he lacked confidence and was quite nervous. However, when a representative from the Dog Unit came to see us and spent time with him he really came out of his shell and showed off his lovely character. He came alive when searching for tennis balls and really enjoyed the challenge.

“We’re delighted he’s found a forever home and so proud that he has become an integral member of Essex Police.”

You can keep up to date with Boots and find out more about his work at Stansted Airport by following him on Twitter @PoliceDogBoots.

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