Pampered canines ready to earn their stripes

Gareth Wilson

SEVERAL pampered pooches are going from homes in Port Elizabeth to police training school in Pretoria.

This after residents responded to a call from the Port Elizabeth K9 Unit to donate dogs.

The unit has received more than 200 calls from dog owners wanting to donate their pets, but so far only seven dogs have made the grade.

Kennel manager Warrant Officer Lindy Steen said they were still responding to offers.

“Some pets we simply can’t take as they do not fit the criteria we need for them to be a working dog in the police.

“The seven we have so far are German shepherds, Border collies and a labrador. These dogs all passed the basic assessments and will be sent to the Pretoria K9 training centre next week,” she said.

The unit’s trainer, Warrant Officer Denzil Dirk, said they hoped to have 10 dogs to take to Pretoria by the end of next week.

“There they will be taught everything they need to know and divided into their specialist categories.

“Some will be trained in narcotics and explosives, while others might fit into the other criteria such as tracking dogs,” he said.

“Each dog is taken on individual merits and we work with them to determine their skills and personality.”

Dirk said the unit specifically sought pure-bred dogs for training.

“We really appreciate the public’s support and donations of animals. At the end of the day the more dogs we have the more dog handlers we can train and the more we can tackle crime,” he said.

Grant Rudman is among those who donated his pedigree Border collie, Stitch, to the unit.

“I moved from Uitenhage to Beachview and just simply did not have a place with a garden. The house I moved into was just too small and I only want the best for him,” he said.

“I spoke to all my friends and family to try to find another home but then someone suggested the dog unit. They are very nice people and you can see they will take good care of him.”

A woman, who declined to be named, donated two German shepherds to the unit but would not say why. “They do call me once a week and keep me up to date with how they are doing. I know they are being well looked after,” she said.

Kay-Lyn Oelofse, who also donated a Border collie, felt her animal’s potential was being wasted by being a home-bound hound.

“She is really so full of energy and she is just such a good dog. It was heart-breaking but unfortunately it also took a tremendous amount of time to keep her occupied,” she said.

“We would get home from work and take turns playing with her. Then all the other stuff we must do falls by the wayside. I just feel that she would adapt far better having someone around her all the time and exercising her nonstop,” Oelofse said.

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