‘Taz was very loyal to me and I enjoyed every moment we had together’ – Handler of retired police dog pays tribute after companion passes away

Beds police dog Taz has passed away at the age of 12 and a half.

Beds police dog Taz has passed away at the age of 12 and a half. - Credit: Archant

The handler of a retired police dog has paid tribute to his loyal companion after he passed away – leaving a ‘big hole’ in the family’s lives.

Dog handler Graham Ashby has today spoken about working with former Bedfordshire Police dog Taz, who died on September 25 at the age of 12 and a half.

Originally from Bicester, the German shepherd was PC Ashby’s first working dog and they were partnered together between November 2005 and May 2009.

Taz was taken on when he was about 14 months old and previously had a restricted life where he lived under a small table and was only walked on a patch of grass outside.

“When I got him home the first thing I had to do was cut his nails as he couldn’t walk properly due to their length,” explained PC Ashby.

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“It wasn’t a job I looked forward to as I’d only just met him and didn’t really know his temperament at that stage. All we knew was that he was a big lad with a strong bite!”

PC Ashby quickly got to know Taz, raised his fitness and stamina and they then both enrolled on the dog training course.

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After passing the course, the pair worked primarily in the south of Bedfordshire and he has fond memories of one particular occasion where they were deployed to locate a burglary suspect.

“I sent Taz after the suspect and he was off,” said PC Ashby.

“I saw them run and turn into an alleyway. When I caught up with them Taz was chasing the suspect around and around two cars in a figure of eight.

“Taz was desperately trying to follow his training and bite the suspect to stop him from running but he couldn’t quite manage it due to the angle. When the suspect saw me he ran straight at me – for help to get away from Taz!”

Taz retired earlier than usual as arthritis was detected in his back legs. Despite this and thanks to careful nurturing – including having his own armchair at home – he relished the life of a pet and companion for the police officer and his family.

PC Ashby added: “Taz was an absolute pleasure to work with and he had the best temperament. He was ready to play one moment but ready to switch to police dog mode in an instant.

“He just wanted to please and was so grateful to be out and about – doing things together, instead of being confined underneath a table. He was very loyal to me and I enjoyed every moment of the 11 and a bit years we had together.

“Taz has left a big hole in our lives and will be sadly missed, but he will always have a special place in mine and my family’s hearts.”

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