A new book written by former police constable Peter Chaplin tells the gripping true-live story of life on the beat as a dog handler – and a very special canine who really got his teeth into fighting crime!
A Job With Bite is a gritty, funny and nostalgic memoir that offers a unique glimpse into life as a copper through the 1970s-90s and how the author formed an incredible bond with a wonder dog called Major.
But it is a tale tinged with sadness. Major’s enthusiasm for the job meant he was deemed too aggressive and was eventually put to sleep – the same fate suffered by so many service dogs. It is an issue Peter feels passionately about and in memory of his faithful friend, the author has pledged £1 from every book sold to Bravo Working Dog Rescue, a charity that saves and rehomes dogs after they have finished their service.
A Job With Bite is a book that very nearly didn’t get written. It was only after discovering his old police dog diary, that had been gathering dust in his attic for nearly 20 years, that Peter decided to put pen to paper.
The book covers much of Peter’s career, from his early days as a raw 17-year-old cadet joining the former Bristol Constabulary during the 1970s, through his career with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, until his enforced retirement (aged just 45) after being injured on duty.
"I wanted A Job With Bite to be a funny and honest look at my years as a police dog handler. It’s a little known aspect of police work, but one that involves getting into all manner of weird and wonderful situations – and a fair few dangerous ones too.
"But I also wanted to tell the world about Major. He was utterly fearless and dependable and the bond we shared was amazing – he was simply the best partner I ever had and I know he would have died to protect me. He wanted to track down the bad guys so much it was unbelievable. And one thing was for sure, his bite was very much worse than his bark!
"Major was like two dogs in one. As a work dog he was incredibly determined – I have a vivid memory of him in full flight, leaping from a fire escape to clear a huge gap to an adjoining roof where a burglar was trying to get away. The fall would have injured him badly, or worse, and most dogs would have hesitated, but Major didn’t pause – he was always determined to get the job done.
"Yet at home it was a different story, he was loyal and placid. When the children were young they would run along with him holding his tail and there was never a hint of aggression."
Peter, who regularly gives talks about his years on the force and the life of a police dog handler, hopes the book will be the first in a series – he is already planning a sequel.
But he is also keen that A Job With Bite helps raise wider awareness of the fate of service dogs in the UK. "In the past 10 year, more than 500 service dogs have been put down after retirement. I feel very strongly about this issue - particularly given what happened to Major - and hope that while my book is an entertaining read, that it also raises awareness and helps change such a tragic situation for dogs which have helped protect society."
A Job With Bite will be officially launched at an event on Monday 8th August 2016, at Rivergate House, Bristol, where Peter will be signing copies of the book and reading extracts.
The book, published in the UK by Silverwood Books, will be available to buy in paperback and e-reader formats from Amazon and other online retailers.
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