A new charity that supports retired police dogs has been launched and world-famous retired police dog ‘Finn’ has been named as its ambassador.
The ‘Thin Blue Paw’ foundation has been set up to support both serving and retired police dogs.
Once a police dog retires, then there is no longer any financial support for their on-going care. This means that the cost of their care falls to their new owner or ex-handler.
Most retired police dogs are unable to be insured since they are former working dogs which means that if, for example, a former police dog is injured, then their owner has to pay for their treatment.
Insurance companies see retired police dogs as being too ‘high risk’ which is why most underwriters will steer clear of offering insurance products for ex-service dogs.
The ‘Thin Blue Paw’ charity aims to help police dogs have a well-deserved and comfortable retirement by providing financial support to their owners as-and-when they need it.
One of the dogs helped by the foundation is German Shepherd Elsa, a retired general purpose police dog who served in Surrey.
Steve Ellis and his wife adopted Elsa in August last year.
Less than a month after they provided a home to Elsa, her owners discovered a suspected-cancerous lump on her mammary gland.
Elsa was rushed to the vets, and it was not long until her new owners had to fork out £1,500 for life-saving treatment.
Elsa is now signed up to receive support from the Thin Blue Paw Foundation for future treatment, meaning the couple can enjoy their time with Elsa without worrying about how to pay for future vet bills.
Mr Ellis said:
“I’m so grateful that the Thin Blue Paw Foundation now exists, without a charity like this our retried police dogs wouldn’t have the support they so very much deserve.
“It’s thanks to the Thin Blue Paw Foundation that we can spend quality time with Elsa, knowing that if we need support, they will be able there to help us.”
Police Dog Finn nearly died after he was stabbed multiple times after protecting his handler, Dave Wardell from a knife-wielding robber.
Finn’s life was saved by veterinary staff and the quick reactions of police officers after he was rushed to a veterinary hospital for urgent treatment to his stab wounds. PC Wardell was also stabbed in the hand during the incident.
The attack on Police Dog Finn led to a new law being passed known as ‘FInn’s Law’ which makes it a specific offence to harm or injure a service animal and prevents people from being able to claim ‘self-defence’ as an excuse for attacking a police dog.
Pc Wardell, a trustee for the foundation and owner of retired police dog Finn, said:
“I’m extremely proud to have founded this charity with our board of trustees.
“As a serving police dog handler, I know first-hand the amazing work these incredible canines do on a daily basis, from finding suicidal people to catching armed robbers it’s only right that when they retire, they’re treated like the heroes that they are.
“I will be forever grateful to Finn for saving my life on that frightful night in October 2016 and I can’t wait to support other retired police dogs through the foundation, who like him have served their country with courage, bravery and selflessness. We will be forever in your debt.”
A book has been published about police dog Finn and his truly remarkable career as a general purpose police dog. ‘Fabulous Finn: The Brave Police Dog Who Came Back From The Brink’ can be purchased on Amazon for £7.72p
It can also be downloaded as an audiobook, for free, during a 30-day free trial of Audible.
To find out more about the work of the Thin Blue Paw foundation visit: thinbluepaw.org.uk
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