Sunday, June 11, 2006


As a former dog owner whose pooch rarely listened to or obeyed commands, it suddenly occurred to me that the problem could have been a failure to communicate. Although it's a long shot since she wasn't the brightest spark in the universe, still it is a possibility.

Take the story of three police officers working out of Avon and Somerset who were forced to learn Dutch since the 3 dogs they recruited don't respond to English. Seems that the officers travelled to Holland to select the dogs, after being unable to find good quality animals in the U.K.

Now if I was a British canine, I would be furious and highly insulted! The inference as I view it is that British dogs aren't up to par when it comes to assisting in police work. This also leads one (me) to speculate as to how this "search" was conducted. Were ads placed in newspapers?

"Wanted. Three dogs. Must like cops. Reply to P.O.Box..."

Or maybe it was strictly a "do-you-know-anybody-that-has-a-large-ish-dog" type calls to friends.

I mean - c'mon! I absolutely refuse to believe that somewhere in Great Britain there aren't any German Shepherds that could fill the bill!

Anyway... There was a communication problem (to say the least) and dog handlers at the force's dog section in Bower, Ashton, Bristol have had to adapt. Their handlers who care for the Dutch dogs - two German Shepherds and a Malinoi - can now fluently communicate Dutch commands.

Wonder what the dutch word for fire hydrant is?

For a photo of the officer and his Dutch-speaking/barking colleague:

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