When we conscript dogs into service on behalf of humans, they get special training and special care. But what happens when they can no longer do the duties we’ve put on their furry shoulders?
Former working dogs can be very protective and aren’t necessarily ideal pets if you have kids. They can also be high strung since they’re used to being called into action. But often they’re just in need of a loving home to kick back in and enjoy their retirement.
What will become of Buzz?
The Durham Constabulary, the police for the people of County Durham and Darlington in England, had a sweet German Shepherd on their hands who was retiring in 2020. His name is Buzz and they were committed to finding him the best home possible.
Well done PD Buzz 👍💙🐾💙— Julie Smith (@smith8) March 6, 2020
They put out an appeal on social media – with the help of the Thin Blue Paw Foundation – looking for anyone who might consider welcoming the 7-year-old retiree into their homes. And, as you might imagine, they were swarmed with interested parties.
The Durham police have a Twitter account dedicated to their K9 units, so many citizens had been following Buzz’s adventures for years, including some of his less valorous moments:
Who says police dogs are intelligent ..?! We certainly don't encourage you to let your dogs play with sticks, but this was hardly likely to get stuck in his throat 👍🏻— Durham Police K9 (@DurhamPoliceK9) February 24, 2018
PD Buzz – #notthebrightest 🙈 pic.twitter.com/SHvz7TGo7b
Home sweet home
For anyone concerned about Buzz, the police have released details of his new setup. Buzz now lives in Kent with his new humans Liz Blackmore, 57, and her husband Martin Blackmore, 64. Mrs. Blackmore used to work as kennel staff for Thames Valley Police and also ran a boarding kennel.
Those rehoming Buzz were adamant that he should go to a home where the owners had previous experience with the breed. The Blackmores have owned German Shepherds in the past and lost their most recent GSD, Rudy, in February of 2020, right before the lockdown.
Now, Buzz is helping Mr. Blackmore, who has to self-isolate, through this lonely period.
A happy ending
The couple adores their new pet and called their first meeting “love at first sight.”
“It’s unbelievable how much Buzz has settled in and he gets four walks a day. He’s such an affectionate little boy – he loves kisses and cuddles and chewing a good stick on a walk. He’s so good and an absolute joy to have – we love him very much,” Mrs. Blackmore told The Sunderland Echo.
Buzz has lived with the Blackmores since November.
All of those who worked with Buzz and support K9s units rejoiced when they heard Buzz was doing so well.
Durham Dog Support Unit’s training assistant, Ann Younghusband, said: “It’s fantastic to see Buzz has settled in well to his new home and is getting a lot of love and attention he deserves in retirement.
As for other K9 units who may have a harder time finding homes after retirement, the Durham Police Dog Support Unit started a Benevolent fund in 2013 to provide a kind of pension “to assist with the day to day costs of looking after the animals after they put their ‘paws up.’”
It is the responsibility of the handler or new owner to cover general costs, but the Paws Up fund and the Thin Blue Paw foundation make sure former working dogs find their fur-ever homes, just like Buzz.
Like retired police dogs, former prison service dogs do not receive a pension when they retire. Jax is in need of a hip replacement and needs your help. Please give what you can and share his story! 💙🐶🇬🇧https://t.co/vOhLENJ1R9— Thin Blue Paw Foundation (@ThinBluePaw) January 2, 2021
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