From watching swans and chasing toys, to catching criminals – meet PD Vixen
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Welcome to the second of our monthly features on the force’s talented team of police dogs. This month we put the focus on PD Vixen and handler PC Sam Jones.
When she’s off duty and enjoying countryside walks or relaxing at home PD Vixen could easily be mistaken for a typical pet dog. But when she’s in the back of a police car as handler PC Sam Jones heads to an incident the agile Dutch Shepherd shows the other side of her personality and just why she’s enjoyed plenty of success with Staffordshire Police since hitting the beat.
Despite only passing her training programme in June last year, PD Vixen has quickly added another qualification after completing the firearm support dog course, which means the 20-month-old can now be let into buildings without her handler to locate offenders.
And for former theatre worker Sam – in Vixen he’s found his leading lady. Sam, who joined the force in November 2014, said: “I used to do sound and lighting in the theatre but had always wanted to join the police.
Pictured: PD Vixen and her favourite toy
“I was initially based at Gailey for four years before moving to Cannock. I have always loved dogs and was drawn to the types of incidents which the handlers are called out to attend.
“I applied to be a handler when a vacancy came up and obviously I was Vixen’s first handler as she was one of the new dogs.”
The two passed the intensive course before heading out to deal with a wide range of incidents across the county. But that wasn’t the end of her education after PD Vixen was put forward for the firearm support dog course. Sam said: “Even though she is young and we are both still quite new to the role we were offered a place and she passed. It means she will be allowed to go into buildings and alert us to where people are.”
Away from work and PD Vixen is a completely different character. Sam said: “We go on around three walks a day and she loves watching swans! When she’s back at home there’s a sofa in the garage she loves to lie on.
“She loves chasing after a toy and is just like a regular pet dog. But when she is in the back of the police car she completely changes and goes into PD mode – it’s like flicking a switch.”