A Staffordshire bull terrier who was abandoned by her owners has become a police explosives search dog who protects the Royal Family.
Five-year-old Roxy was rescued by the RSPCA after she was abandoned in 2017 and taken in by the charity’s West Hatch Animal Centre in Somerset.
Since then she has been on patrol at Windsor Castle for Princess Beatrice’s wedding and monitored the local area ahead of Prince Philip ’s funeral.
Roxy became a police dog after RSPCA staff spotted her potential.
“Roxy was the right age, was good around people and other dogs, and was really confident”, said Supervisor Sue Dicks.
“She was also very ball-focused – something that’s really important in training – and was incredibly determined.”
Roxy went through years of training to become a Police Dog (PD).
She learned how to detect the scent of explosives.
She started out at Avon & Somerset Police for her first ten weeks of training, where she learned what scents to look for and how to signal where they were.
Then she moved to Hampshire and Thames Valley specialist search unit for two years, partnering with PC Camilla Carter, where she finished her training in February 2020.
Roxy is also something of a trailblazer. Roxy is the only Staffordshire bull terrier working as an explosives search dog in the UK and the only Staffie in the Hampshire and Thames Valley dog unit.
Today PD Roxy and her partner PC Carter carry out security sweeps before high-profile public events and visits by important people.
Together they search for suspicious packages and sweep venues ahead of Royal and Ministerial visits.
PD Roxy also responds to bomb threats and searches private jets for hidden explosives.
PC Carter said: “Roxy is a superstar. She is intelligent, very systematic and thorough. For her, it’s all a big, fun game and she just loves to work.
“To see her working and know she’s a rescue dog whose life could have been so much different makes me so proud; it’s amazing to see her doing her job and loving it.
“And I love working by her side, she’s my crew mate and we have each other’s backs. I’m sure she was born to do this. I couldn’t imagine her doing anything else.”
Roxy is one of dozens of rescue dogs who have gone on to work as sniffer dogs with police forces across England and Wales.
People think of police dogs as German shepherds, labradors and spaniels, but several Staffordshire bull terriers are fighting crime.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Sadly, Staffies often receive a bad reputation that they simply don’t deserve.
“Just like any dog, given the right upbringing and care, they can make loving family pets or, like Roxy, crime-fighting su-paw sniffer heroes.”