Rusty, a nine-year-old Labrador cross Cocker Spaniel, has been receiving treatment for a rare skin condition as part of our support of the charity London Retired Police Dogs Trust (LRPD).
Rusty served for six years as a search dog with the Metropolitan Police, sniffing out drugs, firearms and money, and many of his finds helped lead to convictions. Due to being such a trusted member of the force, he was part of the team tasked to search the Trooping the Colour route to ensure it was safe for the Queen’s procession to take place.
Rusty suffers from an ongoing condition that affects the skin around his eye and he has been receiving treatment at our South Woodford Practice.
All of our 44 veterinary practices and three veterinary hospitals in and around Greater London, support retired service dogs with discounted veterinary treatment through the LRPD. The charity funds veterinary care for dogs that have served with the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police and London Fire Brigade.
He said: “Rusty came in to see us because he had a recurring sore patch in the corner of one eye, which was causing him a bit of discomfort. We carried out tests, which revealed he suffers from a chronic inflammatory skin disease. Rusty’s case is quite unusual because while Labrador’s sometimes have this condition around their nose, but I’ve not seen it around the eye before.
“Rusty’s condition is being managed with medication and he’s responded very well to treatment and is feeling much more comfortable.
“He is a lovely, calm and friendly dog who has done an incredible service for people living in London, so being able to help him has been very rewarding.”
Since standing down from official duties, Rusty lives in the Loughton area with his former handler Duncan who has also now retired from the force.
Duncan said: “Rusty was a brilliant working dog and recovered firearms from locations that had already been thoroughly searched. He also uncovered large quantities of cash and drugs and was able to locate single bullet casings from busy streets that would otherwise have been like looking for a needle in a haystack. The power of his nose never ceased to amaze me.
“He’s received a very high standard of care from Goddard Veterinary Group and I’m grateful to the practice and LRPD for helping keep Rusty healthy. When police officers retire they get a pension, but service dogs don’t receive any financial support and many have pre-existing conditions that have been a direct result from being in the line of duty. The cost of care falls to the handlers like me, so to receive support with his veterinary bills makes a massive difference.”
Emma Dignam is a serving police officer who was a co-founder of LRPD in 2019, achieving full charity status in 2020, said: “We are delighted to be working with Goddard Veterinary Group and hope that through our partnership we can help many more service dogs like Rusty enjoy a happy and healthy retirement.”
If you would like to find out more about the charity, visit: www.lrpd.uk
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