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Puppy Found Abandoned In A Bucket Recovers To Become Successful And 'Mischievous' Police Dog

(Sussex Police)

A puppy who was abandoned in a bucket in 2019 is now a successful police sniffer dog.

Dustin (now called Badger) was one of four cocker spaniel puppies found abandoned in a garden in Surrey last year. The group of six-week-olds had severe mange, eye and ear infections, and required a lot of care.

Having recovered and found a new home, Dustin proved to be too much for his new owners to handle, but found his calling instead with Surrey and Sussex Police Dog Unit.

โ€œDustin was always on the go and needed constant stimulation and, sadly, he was just too much for his new owners," said Jo Douglas, from the RSPCA's Millbrook Animal Centre.

โ€œSo he came back to us. We kept him busy by hiding tennis balls around the centre and playing scent games with him," Douglas continued.

โ€œHe loved it and was really good at following his nose so we contacted the police to see if they'd be interested in taking him on as a new recruit."

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Dustin was paired with officer Steph Barrett, who renamed him Badger, and six months ago he qualified to become a sniffer dog.

The 20-month-old is trained to search for drugs, cash and weapons, and has already made an impact.

โ€œWhen he hears the radio go off he squeals with excitement and I don't even have to ask him to get in the van. He's a joy to work with," said officer Barrett.

โ€œHe's hard not to love. He's still got that mischievous side to him but he's obsessed with work and he makes me smile all day."