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From homeless hound to police pooch – rescue dog is tailing criminals after qualifying as sniffer dog

Charlie and handler PC Will Vye

A rescue dog has gone to top of the class after qualifying as police dog, trained to sniff out drugs, cash and weapons.  

Charlie the springer spaniel arrived at the Blue Cross pet charity’s centre in Tiverton, Devon, when his owner was no longer able to care for him. The team at the centre quickly realised that Charlie had what it takes to be a working dog.

Jay Cruikshanks, Centre Manager at Tiverton Blue Cross said: “As soon as Charlie arrived he had his nose to the ground sniffing or he would be staring at us as if he was desperate to be given a job. We tried some simple searching games with him and he took to them like a duck to water – it was obvious that with his drive and energy levels, Charlie needed more than the average family home.”

Police dog Charlie from Tiverton Blue Cross

 Blue Cross contacted a number of organisations that train working dogs and after passing some tests, Charlie secured a place with Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Police to learn how to become a drugs, cash and weapons detection dog.

Charlie embarked on a training course to learn how to sniff out a range of illegal substances - including heroin, cocaine, cannabis and cash - and quickly proved to be a natural.

Charlie’s trainer, PC Jason Keir of the Beds, Cambs and Herts Dog Unit, said: “Charlie was born to be a search dog - you just can’t faze him. He picked up everything we taught him so quickly and he has such a natural drive to go and search. We’re really lucky to have him on the team.”

Charlie graduated after six weeks’ training, along with four other dogs, to become a fully licensed police dog. He will be working alongside his handlers to help out in drug and money laundering cases.

Jay added: “We’re so proud of Charlie, he’s such a great ambassador for rescue dogs and has shown how amazing they can be. It just goes to show that every pet is different and at Blue Cross we always do our best to find just the right home for them, whether in a family or working environment.”

Blue Cross Tiverton finds homes for hundreds of unwanted and abandoned pets every year, funded entirely by public donations. To find out more about the pets currently looking for homes, or to make a donation, visit:


Notes to Editors 

•    Photos: Charlie and his handler, PC Will Vye.
•    The Blue Cross pet rehoming centre in Tiverton has been helping homeless and abandoned pets across North Devon and parts of Somerset since 1985. The centre rehomes hundreds of cats and dogs every year and also has a veterinary welfare clinic with provides treatment to pets of eligible owners on low incomes (call the centre to find out more). 
•    To contact the centre, call 0300 777 1560 or drop in at Chilton Gate, Bickleigh, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 8RS (check the website or call ahead for opening times).
•    Sick, injured and homeless pets have relied on Blue Cross since 1897. Abandoned or unwanted, ill or injured, pets turn to us for help every year. Our doors are always open to them, and with your support, they always will be.
•    Each year, thousands of cats, dogs, small pets and horses turn to our animal hospitals, clinics and rehoming services for treatment and to find them the happy homes they deserve.
•    To find out more about the Beds, Cambs and Herts Dog Unit please visit:

Media contact

Sophia Khan, Blue Cross Media Office: 020 7932 4070 / [email protected] 

— Page last updated Friday, August 14, 2015 - 10:14