Didi, the police dog

She’s intelligent, friendly and cuts an elegant figure. She’s also considerably smaller and lighter than many of her police dog colleagues, making her all too easy to underestimate.

Meet Police Dog (P.D.) Didi. A Belgian Malinois, her speed and agility make her superb police dog material. She can touch 33 mph and jump a six foot fence from standing.

P.D. Didi is a Belgian Mallinois and can run well over 30 mph when giving chase

A busy and sociable puppyhood has left P.D. Didi easygoing with the general public, children and other dogs. A secondment to Portsmouth has lent her a touch of swagger. Her steadfastness and amenable personality are a great foundation to progress within the police from a general role into a more specialised area.

P.C. Beale works on obedience with Didi every day and they are tested regularly as a team to stay licensed

Her handler, P.C. Stacy Beale has worked with her for two years. They cover the Petersfield area as part of their overall patch, which takes in north and east Hampshire.

P.C. Beale with P.D. Didi and P.D. Ruby, a former gun dog who now works as a Specialist Search Dog.

P.C. Beale, talks to Kate Fairweather about her abilities, their relationship and what it takes to make it in the police dog world.

P.C Beale has two police dogs in the car – P.D. Didi and P.D. Ruby, her tracking dog.

And, in case you were interested…they also discuss how you become a police dog handler.

How to become a police dog puppy socialiser volunteer.

What qualities make a good therapy dog?

Patricia Bland, regional coordinator for the Petersfield Area for Pets as Therapy, explains the qualities she looks when assessing a dog’s suitability for therapy work.

Patricia Bland's own dogs work as therapy dogs.
Patricia’s own flat coat retrievers , Margaux (5) and Fleurie (8) both work as PAT dogs – though not at the same time

Patricia gives an idea of the range of roles these dogs take on within the Petersfield area. Therapy work can be done by any dog – it’s the temperament that’s key to success.

More information from petsastherapy.org

Acorn, the school reading assistant

School can be daunting when you’re four, especially if you struggle with reading or are a bit shy. Sometimes all you need is some encouragement from a friend, who sits with you in the school library.

In the first edition of our new series, Dogs with Jobs, meet Acorn.  He’s a well known figure around Petersfield.  Blond-haired, very large and very gentle, he works as a reading assistant at Petersfield Infants and Herne School. 

Acorn the school reading assistant
Blond-haired gentle giant Acorn the golden retriever

On a chilly January morning, Kate Fairweather is charmed by Acorn, and hears about his caring career from his owner, Judy Bridgeland. He has provided support to schoolchildren and delighted hospital patients too, in Petersfield over the last four years How did Judy know he would be a success? She explains the qualities that have allowed him to shine in this role, and what it entails.

Judy took on Acorn at seven years old as a rescue. She has worked him as a PAT therapy dog in Petersfield hospital as well as schools.

How do dogs become school reading assistants, anyway?

Pets as Therapy (PAT) is a voluntary organisation that matches volunteers and their dogs with caring settings, such as schools and care homes. If you think your dog might make a good PAT therapy dog, get in touch via its website or contact Patricia Bland, regional coordinator for the Petersfield area, for more information.

Do you work your dog?

If you would consider participating in Shine Radio’s monthly Dogs with Jobs podcast, why not get in touch with Kate at team@petersfieldradio.uk. Caring dogs, service dogs, sporting dogs – the more varied the better! She’s interested in them all and would love to hear from you.