A puppy found dumped in a bucket has grown up to become a ‘crime-fighting hero’ after being trained by police at the Surrey and Sussex Dog Unit.
The pup was one of four found last summer by a shocked resident in Redhill. The cocker spaniels were hungry, underweight and suffering several chronic infections. They were taken to the Millbrook Animal Centre in Chobham for treatment.
Jo Douglas from the centre who helped to care for them said: "The poor puppies were in a real state. They needed four different types of eye drops and two ear drops which had to be administered four times a day, plus medicated baths for their skin."
After weeks of treatment, the puppies - named Dustin, El, Lucas and Mike, after the Stranger Things characters - were rehomed to loving families.
Jo added: "Dustin was always on the go and needed constant stimulation and 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!"
Dustin, now renamed Badger, joined the police dog training programme and qualified as a sniffer dog six months ago.
Now 20-months-old, Badger is trained to sniff out drugs, cash and weapons, and works alongside PC Steph Barrett with Surrey and Sussex Police Dog Unit.
PC Barrett said: “I was saddened to hear how Badger had been dumped on the side of the road but, thanks to the RSPCA, he’s been given a second chance. After a lot of love and training, he has regained trust in humans and become a real success story. He’s still very mischievous at times, but that’s all part of the challenge!"