As you might remember, last year I lost my four legged work partner Milo to cancer. So, a month later I was re-teamed with a new canine friend, a German Shepherd bitch called Aoife (pronounced 'eefa').
I thought I would post a couple of photos of her for interest as I get a few messages asking about my line of work.
She is just under two years old and weighs just over 30kg. Aoife is trained as a Patrol Arm True (PAT) dog which means she can patrol with me and if needed, be released to bite the arm of a person and hold on until commanded to let go.
I spent a week at the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray last October to bond with her, train with her and complete a pass out which involved an obedience test, agility and also manwork - to find, chase and apprehend an 'intruder' and to remain under control and obedient in a pressure situation while I carried out a clothing search of the subject.
From the very first time I took her out we had an immediate bond and she worked for me straight away which made my life very easy and the subject of envy for those guys on the re-team course with me who had, lets say - less compliant dogs?
We achieved a really good pass at the end of the course and I was granted a six month licence to handle her which is a standard length of time for a new dog team.
I've just had my licence renewed this week and as a result of our performance have been recommended to take part in the service dog trials at the end of June to compete against police, army and prison service dogs.
This is a little outside my remit as M.O.D. guard dogs aren't trained in the same way as the other service dogs and as far as I know, none have been in competition with the other services at these trials. As Aoife isn't trained to carry out article searches as the other dogs are, I now have four months to introduce her to this and get both her any myself to a sufficient standard to compete.
Luckily she's a lot smarter than me!
I'll try and get a few pics of her working and add them here soon.