It is a singular job where your closest colleagues have twice as many legs as you do.
The Press and Journal spent a morning with the north of Scotland’s police dog section during a training exercise at the Black Isle showground in Muir of Ord.
Police Constable Donald Pearson has served in the police for 18 years in locations including Thurso, Inverness, Lairg and even a stint in New Zealand.
He said: “I have always wanted to be a dog handler and there are a finite number of positions available in the dog section. Once you are in the section you tend to stay so it is very difficult to get in to as there are not many posts and people tend to stay in the role for some time.”
After completing 14 weeks of training, Constable Person joined the Dog Section at their base in Inverness. But with the widespread geography of the north, the team can be deployed anywhere from Stornoway to Castletown.
Constable Pearson is currently in the process of putting Springer Spaniel Corrie through an extensive eight-week training course with the team’s newest recruit set to become a specialist drugs dog.
We've had puppies coming out our ears this year! We've had the best #TongueOutTuesdays. We've followed #PDRexy and her crazy adventures. We've been in a TV Show, done various newspaper and magazine shoots. All that's left to say is thank you to all our followers #HappyNewYear2019 pic.twitter.com/uemES1NPmO
— Police Scotland Dogs (@polscotdogs) December 31, 2018
Mr Pearson said: “Previously I was a firearms officer and that was 11 weeks’ worth of training so to have a dog there is more training involved than having a firearm which to anybody looking on from outside they would think ‘no way’.
He added: “The bond is stronger than you would think. You always keep a distance because you have to be mindful that you are working, but you are with them all the time. Your days off, holidays, leave – you have always got them. There is definitely a bond, quite a big bond I would say.
“The dogs are really well socialised and they want for nothing. The welfare of the animals is incredible. They have 24-hour vet care, the best food money can buy, an awesome kennel and there is even air con in the vans for dogs – not for the officers who are driving.”
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The working period for police dogs in the force lasts for seven years before they are placed into retirement, with handler Pearson believing the newest addition is shaping up well to be a handy resource.
He said: “There is no reason we can see just now why Corrie wouldn’t become a successful drug dog. He has certainly got the drive for it, loves sniffing stuff and loves playing.
“He is going to fit right in in the section and I have no doubts he will be an asset to the section.”