A German Shepherd puppy training to be a guide dog from Hertfordshire, England, has been named after a police dog hailed a 'hero' after protecting his handler from a knife attack.The puppy, called Finn, was given his name after the older Finn, also a German Shepherd, was nearly killed on duty. The 8-year-old police dog was stabbed in the head and chest during an attack last October while responding to reports of a robbery.A 16-year-old boy was convicted of the attack, which narrowly missed Finn's heart and also mildly injured his handler, PC Dave Wardell.
While they recovered from their injuries, Wardell called for tougher laws concerning the harm done to animal officers and also decided to give to a number of worthy causes.One of the charities he rose money for was Guide Dogs, an organisation which trains puppies to become guide dogs and places them with people in need.According to Wardell, it can cost more than £52,000 ($67,000) to support a guide dog's full training, with £5000 alone going towards their first year, which is why sponsors and donations are so essential.
In addition to these costs, Wardell wanted to honor his canine partner by sponsoring a puppy of the same breed, as he told BBC News:
We wanted a German shepherd, they are apparently the Rolls Royce of guide dogs, but there aren't many of them. Hence it's taken a while for a litter.
Not any puppy can become a guide dog, and the charity has breeding program to make sure that they have a good chance of getting puppies with the right kinds of personalities to be the calm and attentive companions that blind people need. Only 4% of these dogs are German Shepherds.
But eventually, Finn and Wardell got their wish when a litter of 10 German Shepherd puppies was born in July.Puppy Finn is now 6 weeks old and, along with his brothers and sisters, will be fostered by a 'puppy walker', who will teach him basic social skills and obedience. After that, he will be sent to training school for 6 months and, if he passes, will go on to become a working guide dog.
The older Finn recovered fully, returning to the force last December and retired after 8 years of service earlier this year. Meanwhile, the younger Finn will hopefully prove to be as hardworking as his namesake and become the most precious thing in a visually impaired person's life.If you would like to support Guide Dogs Uk, click here!
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