Withiel WI

For our February meeting we welcomed Ben Jobes a police dog handler who joined the force in 2007 before applying to become a dog handler in 2014. He gave us a detailed insight into the selection and training of the dogs. A lot of the puppies are from Europe and bred especially for the job. Basic training begins with everyone making an angry crowd to test a dog’s nerve, as there is no place for a shy or timid dog. Then follows the teaching of dogs to seize an offender by the arm, where the trainer wears a thickly padded sleeve and the bite can still bruise despite the protection.

After being paired with Ash, a young German Shepherd, Ben went with her on an intensive 13-week course away from home, after which man and dog both passed out (not literally) with flying colours and their life together started, with Ash becoming a full-time member of Ben’s family. The dogs are usually retired at about eight years old and Ash is now enjoying her well-earned retirement in Scotland.

We were then introduced to Barney, a larger than life black Labrador trained as a victim-recovery dog: his main job will be to find missing people and bodies. Obviously scenting is key to this role and Barney, after meeting each individual WI member, then used his nose to home in on the biscuits that we have with our cups of tea!

It was a really good evening, with Ben giving an excellent talk, but the star of the show had to be Barney with his wonderful personality and enthusiasm.

Competition: A good name for a police dog

Joint 1st Margaret Fryett and Erica Simpson 2nd Brenda Harris 3rd Rosanna Marks

Flower of the month: 1st Angie Richardson 2nd Heather DeBoer 3rd Brenda Harris

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