A charity that helps retired police dogs with life-saving medical treatment has celebrated distributing more than £125,000 in vital grants.
The Thin Blue Paw Foundation is a UK charity that supports working dogs when they retire to ensure that they have access to the very best veterinary care and treatments, no matter the cost or their owner’s financial situations.
The charity was founded in August 2020 to celebrate, protect and support working and retired police and prison dogs. It now has more than 300 dogs registered and has paid out £125,000 to cover bills for life-saving surgeries, preventative treatments and therapies, and expensive medication.
Thin Blue Paw Foundation founder and trustee Kieran Stanbridge said, “There are wide areas across the UK where there is no support in place for these canine heroes once they leave work. This means that the financial responsibility falls to their new owners – often their previous handler – and could bring with it large veterinary bills.
“It’s incredibly difficult to get insurance for ex-working dogs and they often retire with significant health problems and degenerative conditions due to their strenuous working lives; many of these can be incredibly expensive to treat and manage. This can be a significant burden for their owners who want to give them the best quality of life but may also be struggling financially, particularly given the current cost of living crisis.
“We wanted to ensure that no dogs or owners would find themselves struggling because they fell into an area without any help so we launched the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, which would offer support to retired police and prison dogs across the UK.”
Here are some of the dogs the charity has supported:
Nine-year-old Belgian Malinois Miko spent eight years at Norfolk Constabulary as a general-purpose dog until his retirement in 2021. A forensic nurse who worked with the force adopted him, but he needed hydrotherapy for pain in his legs. His owner, Jodie, asked the Thin Blue Paw for help and the charity contributed towards the cost.
Jodie said, “Miko has improved so much; he’s happier in himself and has a much better quality of life now. I wouldn’t have been able to financially support this treatment so the Thin Blue Paw has enabled him to have a better quality of life. I can’t thank the charity enough.”
Nine-year-old Kiwi worked as a general-purpose and firearms support for with Surrey Police for seven years before retiring in 2020 to be adopted by local vet nurse, Jody. The German Shepherd struggled with itchy skin and dermal cysts so vets prescribed specialist shampoos and medication, costing hundreds of pounds.
Jody said, “We’re so grateful to the Thin Blue Paw Foundation for helping pay for these medications to ensure Kiwi lives out her retirement in the comfort she deserves.”
Ten-year-old Springer Spaniel Bailey was a cash, drugs and weapons detection dog with Humberside Police for more than eight years. His handler, Chris, adopted him when he retired and took on responsibility for his care but was unable to get insurance. One morning he came downstairs to find Bailey collapsed and rushed him to the vet where he was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease and a nasty infection. The Thin Blue Paw covered the £1,500 emergency vet bill.
Belgian Shepherd Dog Max served at the Ministry of Defence Police base HMNB Devonport in Plymouth, Devon, for almost three years before retiring in September 2022. The five-year-old Malinois needed treatment for damage to his legs and now has hydrotherapy for arthritis.
His former handler Natalie, who adopted him on his retirement, said, “Max has regular hydrotherapy sessions, which is really helping, and the Thin Blue Paw Foundation has kindly funded a course of these sessions. My finances have taken a knock recently and things have been difficult so this has been a huge help.”
German Shepherd Captain retired from West Midlands Police in 2022 after a three-year career when he ruptured his cruciate ligament and needed surgery. His handler, Marcus, adopted him and took on responsibility for his care – and costs. The Thin Blue Paw Foundation has been supporting the six-year-old with ongoing costs for medication and hydrotherapy to ease his osteoarthritis.
You can help…
The Thin Blue Paw Foundation is funded entirely by donations and corporate sponsorship.
To donate to the charity, please visit https://donate.thinbluepaw.org.uk/