Police dog and handler in line for leading Crufts award
22 February 2013
DOG handler Dan Thomas and his retired police dog Janus take centre stage at Crufts this year after being shortlisted in the event's popular Friends for Life competition.
Friends for Life features heart-warming stories of doggie devotion and showcases dogs that have earned the title 'man's best friend' through bravery, support or companionship.
PD Janus retired to live with PC Thomas at the tail end of last year after a police career that saw him collar hundreds of crime suspects and uncover evidence that proved crucial in securing court convictions.
Along with four other finalists, the spotlight will be on Dan and Janus in the main parade ring as the event comes to a close on Sunday 10 March – a video of their story will appear on More4 whilst the voting results are being aired live on Channel 4.
To vote for Dan and PD Janus call 0844 646 0201 – calls cost 5p from a BT landline but may be more from other networks. Voting closes at 6.30pm on March 10.
It's the first time a West Midlands Police dog and its handler have been nominated for the award – but he's up against some tough competition including a dog that helped save the lives of two soldiers in Afghanistan and survived capture by the Taliban!
PC Thomas, who's also scheduled to take part in police dog unit demonstrations with new sidekick PD Zane, said: "Janus certainly deserves his 15 minutes of fame!
"He's an excellent dog in so many ways: extremely sociable, playful, agile, fast and highly driven to work. You could tell he really loved his police job! A walk with Janus now still has to involve some training as he wants to stay active and not just go for a stroll.
"The bond between any dog and owner is special but the bond between a working dog and handler is amazing…we've been through so much together and have spent more time with him over the last few years than my own family!
"He has depended on me and I've equally depended on him many times when he's come to my aid and fended off violent offenders. He's been a pleasure to train, work and live with and if I could turn the clock back and work him again I would."
Friends for Life winner will receive £1,500 from sponsors The Kennel Club for their chosen charity with runners-up being presented with a cheque for £750.
PC Thomas' beneficiary will be Medical Detection Dogs – a charity that trains dogs to help people with life threatening health conditions.
Janus' tracking and searching led to the arrest of 285 crime suspects since 2008 – when PC Thomas was first paired with him – whilst he also assisted in a further 157 captures.
And his recovered property haul includes weapons like knives and screwdrivers, clothing, gloves and balaclavas, lots of stolen items and cash. In one incident he uncovered £5,000 stolen from a security van heist and in another sniffed out more than £10,000 worth of stolen power tools.
Kennel Club Senior Events Co-ordinator Andrea Peters, said: "It's the first time a West Midlands Police dog and handler have been nominated…Janus' story will be heard by a live audience of 6,000 at the NEC plus many, many more tuning in on Channel 4.
"The Friends for Life competition has been running since 2006. It shows what a positive difference dogs make to people – from saving lives to giving them a purpose to carry on – and illustrates their intuition and the lengths they will go to in order to look after their owners and carers."
West Midlands Police's Dog Unit will staff a stand in Hall 3 of the NEC during Crufts, whilst members of the team will also spend time with police pups on the 'identichip' stand to promote micro-chipping and responsible dog ownership.
Police dogs and handlers are scheduled to take part in demonstrations at 1.50pm on March 7 and 12.45pm and 4.35pm on March 10.
The demos are expected to feature puppy walkers parading police pups, basic puppy bite work, and training with more senior dogs including a chase, property search, tackling violent offenders, and scenarios involving crowd participation!
Crufts runs from March 7 to March 10 at the NEC.
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