Cocker Spaniel Puppy Found Abandoned Grows Up to Be an English Police Dog

We’re so happy for Badger the brave police pup.

Black dog sits in front of castle in Sussex
Photo: Courtesy of Sussex Police

After originally being found abandoned in a bucket and later adopted, a rambunctious cocker spaniel puppy named Badger couldn't stay with his adoptive family. Luckily, the Sussex and Surrey Police Dog Unit was able to put his energy—and snazzy sniffing skills—to work.

Badger and three other young pups were first discovered by a concerned citizen in Redhill, Surrey, a town about 20 miles south London in the summer of 2019. The puppies were incredibly malnourished, partly bald because of severe mange, and suffering from ear and eye infections, prompting rescuers to take the abandoned dogs to the Millbrook Animal Centre. A Millbrook Animal Centre worker, Jo Douglas, told ITV that the neglected pups required multiple eye drops, ear drops, and medicated baths to help restore their health.

After their recuperation, all four puppies—who at that time were named Dustin, El, Lucas and Mike after the kids from Stranger Things—were rehomed with loving families. Unfortunately, Badger's high-energy personality and need for constant stimulation ended up being too much for his adoptive family, and he was returned to the animal center.

In an effort to keep Badger busy, Jo and other workers entertained the young dog by playing hide-and-seek and scent games—and Badger turned out to be exceptionally good at sniffing.

"He absolutely loved it and was really good at following his nose," Douglas said. "So we contacted the police to see if they'd be interested in taking him on as a new recruit."

They certainly were. Now just shy of 2 years old, Badger is an official member of the local police unit. His job? What he's good at, of course: sniffing out drugs, money, and weapons. The Sussex Police posted this sweet tribute to Badger on their Facebook account last month celebrating their new four-legged officer's training completion and admission to the force.

His handler, PC Steph Barrett, who was the one to re-name him Badger, says he's no stranger to a bit of trouble, but he loves his job.

"When 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," Barrett says in a police news release. "He'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."

Police have already attributed "numerous finds" to Badger, including a cache of money and drugs on a church's grounds in November.

We love Badger's happy ending, and we're so glad this rambunctious, energetic pup is able to serve his community. If you're interested in adopting your own furry friend, check out the Daily Paws adoption guide.

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