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The search is on the nation’s su-paw heroes!

The Thin Blue Paw Foundation – a national welfare charity that supports and celebrates working and retired police dogs – is hosting its inaugural awards this year and is looking for inspirational tails of bravery and heart-warming stories of dogs who have dedicated their lives to keeping the public safe.

The Thin Blue Paw Awards, supported by Animal Friends Pet Insurance, will be taking place on 14th September in Hertfordshire to celebrate the achievements of the country’s four-legged heroes.

Thin Blue Paw Foundation trustee Kieran Stanbridge said: “Every day across the UK hundreds of police dogs go to work fighting crime, sniffing out danger, tracking vulnerable missing people, and protecting key figures and members of the public. Many dogs and their handlers put themselves in danger just to do their job and keep the public safe, and we felt it was time to honour their dedication, bravery and achievements.

“We’re looking to sniff out the nation’s most inspirational stories of bravery and commitment so we can shine a light on these incredible unsung heroes and celebrate all of their achievements in the line of duty.”

Nominations are now open online www.thinbluepaw.org.uk/awards and will close on Sunday 25th July 2021. The winners will be selected by a panel of judges and both two-legged and four-legged guests will be invited to the awards ceremony on 14th September for a glittering event which will include a three-course dinner, for dogs (supported by Barking Heads) and humans alike!
• Outstanding Bravery – for a serving police dog who has shown extraordinary bravery in the line of duty.
• Lifesaver - to celebrate a serving police dog whose work was invaluable in a life-threatening incident, for example locating a vulnerable missing person.
• Crime Fighting Duo - for a serving police dog and handler team who are constantly achieving outstanding operational results.
• Rising Star – to celebrate the achievements of a newly licensed serving police dog.
• Lifetime Achievement - to celebrate a retired police dog who made an exceptional difference during their service.
Animal Friends – which supports the charity’s work – will be supporting the event. CEO Westley Pearson said: “It’s no small secret that dogs bring an unconditional amount of joy, companionship and comfort to our lives but what these phenomenal canines do, and how much they give, can often go unnoticed. We believe it’s time for this to change.

“Supporting the Thin Blue Paw Foundation to help provide the respite and care police dogs do rightly deserve in their retirement brings us so much joy and pride but being able to help shine a spotlight on the achievements of some of these magnificent heroes is a true honour.

“We’re incredibly proud to be part of this much deserved awards and look forward to reading all the entries as I am sure there will be many worth contenders to choose from.”

Thin Blue Paw Foundation trustee and owner of retired police dog and charity ambassa-dog, Fabulous Finn (pictured), Dave Wardell, said: “When Finn was stabbed in the line of duty trying to protect me from a man wielding a knife in October 2016, he made headlines across the country. He was lucky to survive and make a full recovery. But, every day across the country, police dogs like Finn do incredible things that, quite often, go unnoticed.

“These incredible su-paw heroes help detain dangerous criminals, keep their handlers safe, protect the public and save lives. We felt it was time that they got the recognition they deserve so, when we formed the Thin Blue Paw Foundation last year to help support police dogs when they retire, we also pledged that we’d organise these awards to celebrate the contribution that these dogs make to their police forces and their communities.

“If you know a police dog who has done something amazing then we’d urge you to nominate them for an award. And if you believe these dogs deserve to live long, happy and healthy retirements after years of public service then please support our work by donating online.”
• Photos can be downloaded here.
• If you’re interested in attending the awards to cover the event please email press@thinbluepaw.org.uk for more information.

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