AFP DOG RETIRES

June 28 2014

– Peter House spends time with his retired police dog Phoenix yesterday. As a former Australian Federal Police (AFP) firearm and explosive protection dog, Phoenix has rubbed paws with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among other diplomats. Picture: Michael Frogley
Peter House spends time with his retired police dog Phoenix yesterday. As a former Australian Federal Police (AFP) firearm and explosive protection dog, Phoenix has rubbed paws with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among other diplomats. Picture: Michael Frogley

HE MIGHT look like a typical man’s best friend, but this labrador has seen and smelt more than most of his canine companions.

Very little gets past nine-year-old Phoenix who, up until recently, was top dog at Melbourne Airport.

The former Australian Federal Police (AFP) firearm and explosive protection dog rubbed paws with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among other diplomats, as part of his national security role.

Adopted by semi-retired resident Peter House about a month ago, he now calls Wagga home.

Mr House, who runs a pre-purchase property inspection business, has spent the time trying to adjust him into “civilian life”.

“This dog’s worked hard and now he needs somewhere that’s a good environment for him to enjoy his retirement,” Mr House said.

“I think when they (dogs) get to their time, there should be people out there who can put their hand up and say ‘I’ll take one’ and give it a bit of TLC for the remaining part of its life.

“The best part about it is you get a dog that doesn’t dig holes, chew or anything like that, all his bad habits are gone.”

Mr House said Phoenix has done “quite a bit” of work for diplomats visiting Australia, but Hillary Clinton was the one that had been more prominent.

“I think there’s been others he has done an inspection for, he goes through their apartments, where they stay … check out their cars,” he said.

“He (had) little booties on to protect the clothing and the cars.”

Phoenix’s diet consists of 300 grams a day of dry dog food and a bone once a week.

Peter House spends time with his retired police dog Phoenix yesterday. As a former Australian Federal Police (AFP) firearm and explosive protection dog, Phoenix has rubbed paws with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among other diplomats. Picture: Michael Frogley
Peter House spends time with his retired police dog Phoenix yesterday. As a former Australian Federal Police (AFP) firearm and explosive protection dog, Phoenix has rubbed paws with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among other diplomats. Picture: Michael Frogley
Despite throwing up its challenges, the transition from top security hound to everyday dog has been a rewarding one for both parties.

“He snuck in and ate a bit of cat food a got a bit crook … he was off his food and I couldn’t work out why until I spotted him eating the cat food,” he said.

“His diet is very important.”

Mr House said Phoenix wasn’t your typical dog – he is trained to go to the toilet on command and many normal human occurrences have caught him by surprise.

“What fascinates us more than anything … he’d never seen (someone) peg washing on the clothes line, he just sat there and watched,” he said.

– Andrew Pearson

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Crimewave2014@gmail.com
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