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

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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