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Issue No. 411 March 2017

Happy retirement, partner

After an action-packed career, a valued member of Wellington’s dog squad is enjoying an idyllic retirement - relaxing in the sun and having fun with his family.

It’s a dog’s life for retiree Ox.

Seven-year-old Ox graduated as an operational Police dog with handler Sergeant Ben O’Connor in July 2011 and served five-and-a-half years before retiring in December with a back injury.

He caught 332 offenders and was a crucial part of the Wellington and AOS squads, regularly attending dangerous situations.

Now Ox is enjoying all the creature comforts of retirement as a member of Ben’s family, including playing with the children, going for walks and swimming in the river – and getting to tuck into some tasty leftovers and offcuts every now and then.

No stranger to the media spotlight, some of Ox’s high-profile catches included successfully tracking a burglar 4.5km through Wainuiomata, and catching six offenders from different jobs in a single shift.

“His tracking work and criminal work were his greatest strengths,” says Ben, now a dog trainer instructor at the Police Dog Training Centre in Trentham.

Ox is also a former police dog national champion. He won the title with Ben in 2014, and was runner-up with handler Constable Andrew ‘Junior’ Douglas in 2016.

Junior became Ox’s handler when Ben was promoted last year.

The pair spent about ten months working together before the genetic condition affecting Ox’s spine ended his operational career.

Though enjoying a life of leisure, Ox is keeping a paw on the pulse of policing. “He comes to work with me and gets to socialise and run around with the foster dogs at the training centre,” says Ben. “He’s no longer stuck in a kennel all day, as he could be on a shift if he wasn’t working, and he seems to love it.”


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