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National OK9 network: North East

Say ‘hello’ to the OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dogs and their handlers in police forces in the North East of England.

These dogs are all members of the national OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dog network and are able to attend the aftermath of a major incident to support those affected by trauma. They also get the opportunity to attend national events and to support our wellbeing outreach service. 

Bella

Bella standing next to a police vehicle wearing her OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Labrador and Husky cross
  • Likes: Children and going to the beach
  • Character / traits: Bella is a calm dog, she shows compassion and recognises fear and distress in people

Bella’s owner is Amanda Buck, Centre Manager of Breckon Hill Community Centre, a small locally-run charity that responds to community needs. 

Amanda delivers a crisis intervention programme that predominantly focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of all her community members. She and Bella are volunteering with the OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dog project for Cleveland Police.

Sol

Sol the Standard Poodle looking away from the camera wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Standard Poodle
  • Likes: Meeting people
  • Character / traits: Sol has a lovely nature and he brings joy to people's lives

Hilary Brown, Sol’s owner said: “I was so pleased to hear of this national initiative of having wellbeing dogs. When asked to get involved I said yes straight away as the pressure on officers and staff is immense and I hope that Sol can help. I find that my pets provide me with a lot of emotional support at times. He passed his assessment with flying colours.” 

Hilary also volunteers for Blue Cross as an educational speaker and Sol is a Blue Cross education dog too.

Ben

Golden Labrador Ben wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Golden Labrador
  • Likes: Cuddles and chasing a ball
  • Favourite toy: A tennis ball
  • Favourite food: Anything - he's a Labrador

Claire Kerr is Ben’s handler and is a PCSO for Durham Constabulary, she has been a PCSO for 15 years and uses her dogs to deliver school and community engagement. Claire thoroughly enjoys her role as an OK9 handler, seeing how much people enjoy our visits makes the job worthwhile.

Claire said: "Ben is a wonderful dog that loves fetching his ball to anyone who needs cheering up, officers and staff always comment on how lovely Ben is and what a difference he makes to their day."

Reggie

Reggie sitting on grass looking at the camera wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Black Labrador
  • Likes: Splashing around in water
  • Favourite toy: Anything that is soft and cuddly
  • Character / traits: He has a very long tongue
  • Favourite food: Anything - he's a Labrador

Claire Kerr is Reggie’s handler and is a PCSO for Durham Constabulary, she has been a PCSO for 15 years and uses her dogs to deliver school and community engagement. Claire thoroughly enjoys her role as an OK9 handler, seeing how much people enjoy our visits makes the job worthwhile.

Claire said: "Reggie is a funny dog that cannot help but make people laugh, he is a very lively little dog that is always happy and makes everyone around him happy too."

Balto

Balto the Siberian Husky lying on the floor wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Siberian Husky
  • Likes: Meeting new people
  • Character / traits: He's just adorable

Balto is handled by Sandra Heathcote, a retired police officer who now spends her time between Cornwall and East Yorkshire. They volunteer with the charity Canine Concerns, visiting various establishments including schools and psychiatric hospitals. Balto even has his own Facebook page: baltothepetsastherapyhusky

Cindy

Cindy the Springer Spaniel sitting on the floor looking away from the camera

 

  • Breed: Springer Spaniel
  • Favourite toy: Tennis ball
  • Character / traits: Sock thief 
  • Favourite food: Chicken, rice and raw carrots

PC Ian Sweeney is Cindy’s handler. Cindy is an ex explosives, search, and detection dog. Ian also handles Logan a general-purpose police dog. Both Ian and Logan won the North East Region Award for Bravery after they we both shot whilst detaining an armed suspect in 2019.

Ian adores animals in particular dogs, who never have a bad day. They are always pleased to see you and lift your spirits in every sense. They have incredible healing powers and have assisted Ian many times through this demanding role as a police officer.

Maggie

Maggie in OK9 wellbeing dog jacket and CC Shiner

 

  • Breed: Labrador
  • Likes: Sleeping on human beds and belly rubs
  • Favourite toy: Anything with a squeak
  • Character / traits: Quiet, observant, patient (unless food is involved)
  • Favourite food: Anything - she's a Labrador

Maggie's handler is DC Andrea Cowey. Andrea said: "I am detective constable within the major crime team in Humberside Police. I have been a serving officer for almost 27 years. I am a mental health first aider, peer to peer supporter, and wellbeing champion. I am a FLO and a specialist suspect and victim/witness interviewer. I am also a volunteer for Police Care UK and an ambassador for the police treatment centres."

Margot

Margot wearing her OK9 wellbeing dog jacket doing the high five

 

  • Breed: Labrador
  • Likes: Everything, especially running really, really fast
  • Favourite toy: Balls, balls, balls
  • Character / traits: Bold, confident, and loving
  • Favourite food: Anything humans eat - not too fond of dog food

Margot's handler is DC Andrea Cowey. Andrea said: "I have two OK9 dogs and love taking the dogs to work with me. They bring so much joy wherever we go. I have lost count of the amount of people who say ‘I feel so much better now’. I recently had both of the dogs with me at the wellbeing wagon and it was definitely double trouble. They are both so different, Margot is very bold and confident and Maggie is much quieter, they each found their own targets."

Ted

OK9 wellbeing dog Ted the American Fox Red Labrador looking at the camera

 

  • Breed: American Fox Red Labrador
  • Likes: Balls, food, and people
  • Favourite toy: Scooby Doo ball
  • Character / traits: Vocal, energetic, eager to please
  • Favourite food: Anything that doesn’t move

PC Alan Cox is a police officer working on the community engagement team.

Alan said: "Ted was purchased by our force wellbeing team to help with morale and encourage conversations between colleagues during his visits. He also does some external visits to various community groups.

"Ted has made a huge difference internally, so much so we can’t keep up with demand for him. He is turning into quite the local superstar. The main thing that I need to make colleagues aware of before a visit, is to hide their lunches when he is about."

Whispa

OK9 dog Whispa in wellbeing jacket standing in front of chair

 

  • Breed: Golden Retriever
  • Likes: Walking on the beach and playing in the sea
  • Favourite toy: A fluffy oinking pig
  • Character / traits: Thinks she can talk
  • Favourite food: Sunday dinner with vegetables

Brad is Whispa’s handler and has over 30 years policing. He has spent time on road policing and over 16 years on the dog section. He had worked within NYP Federation as he is passionate about highlighting officer welfare and wellbeing, modernising the approach and services offered to our colleagues. Brad retired in May 2022 and is continuing to volunteer with OK9.

Eze

Eze sitting on grass wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Spaniel cross
  • Likes: Anything he can eat and his family
  • Favourite toy: His fluffy lamb toy
  • Character / traits: Eze is incredibly gentle and just wants to be with people - he loves all animals and people
  • Favourite food: Anything he can get into his tummy

"I am Donna, I am the Head of PSD in Nottinghamshire and Eze is our wellbeing dog. Eze comes into work most days and spends his time with different teams in the department. He makes a difference every day and I love seeing this. Staff love him and miss him when he is not there. He is very much part of the team and wider in Nottinghamshire Police. I would say he has his own fan club."

Barney

Barney the Cockapoo looking at the camera wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Chocolate Cockapoo
  • Likes: Long walkies, playing ball and biscuits
  • Favourite toy: His Christmas sprouts that are a metre long
  • Character / traits: Barney loves cuddles but is always ready to play
  • Favourite food: Roast chicken

"My name is Bea and I currently work on Barnsley central neighbourhood team as a police constable. The role of an OK9 handler is perfect for both me and Barney, I am a strong believer in how a dog can change the morale in the workplace. Barney is the happiest little puppy and instantly lights up a room as soon as he enters. I can already see the difference it is making within a working environment."

Buddy

Buddy standing next to a table and chairs wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Jack Russell
  • Likes: Long walks and cuddles
  • Favourite toy: Anything that squeaks
  • Character / traits: Loving, and stubborn
  • Favourite food: Dentasticks and mango

"I am Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest within the force professional standards department. Often we have very nervous officers visiting and without exception, Buddy will make them smile. As a department, my staff often have to deal with difficult situations where they have to investigate colleagues so to have a wellbeing dog visit one day a week certainly helps with staff wellbeing."

Buddy

Buddy the Cairn/Westie cross sitting on grass wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Cairn and Westie cross
  • Likes: Cuddles, treats, and fuss
  • Favourite toy: Always a tennis ball
  • Character / traits: Loves to play, is very sociable and friendly and enjoys lots of fuss
  • Favourite food: Sausages

"I am Kay Cooper, a dispatcher in the force control room, have been here 26 years and love my job. Buddy is a happy, playful, gentle dog who enjoys fuss and treats. Buddy and I are loving being an OK9 dog/handler and enjoy seeing the joy it brings and how it uplifts people in their workplace."

Charlie

Charlie OK9 Dog

 

  • Breed: Sprocker Spaniel
  • Likes: Having secret sofa cuddles with mum whilst dad is on nights
  • Favourite toy: Duck Duck
  • Character / traits: Charlie likes to show off his toys but then not let anyone play with them
  • Favourite food: Sunday dinner

Charlie is owned by Michael Patton and Larissa Porter who both work for South Yorkshire Police.  Michael is based on a response team at Doncaster as the designated response car driver and Larissa is based in Doncaster reactive CID. 

"Being an OK9 handler gives you the joy of sharing your fluffy best friend with your colleagues and brightening their day.  Charlie's sunny personality naturally does this."

Chase

Chase the Working Springer Spaniel sitting on the floor wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Working Springer Spaniel
  • Likes: His family, food, long walks, and snow
  • Favourite toy: Rubber tug toy
  • Character / traits: He is loveable and daft with a cheeky nature - he has a real soft spot for children
  • Favourite food: Sausages

"I am Caroline, from the force control room at South Yorkshire Police, a dispatcher for the last 15 years. Being an OK9 handler means a lot to me as I am passionate about improving wellbeing of the officers and staff.

"Chase is a cheeky loveable spaniel with the ability to lift people’s spirits. The feedback we have had so far is that he is perfect for the role. We are very proud to be teamed up."

Dexter

Dexter the Labrador looking at the camera wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Labrador
  • Likes: Swimming, playing fetch, sunshine, and cuddles
  • Favourite toy: Dexter has a toy sloth that he carries everywhere at home
  • Character / traits: Dexter is very calm and laid back and he loves being around people
  • Favourite food: Dexter will do anything for a piece of cheese

"I am Kay Fitzgerald and I’m a sergeant in Sheffield’s safer neighbourhood services. I am passionate about staff wellbeing so I jumped at the chance of being part of OK9. I knew Dexter would love it and that his happy, relaxed personality would rub off on people in the workplace. I love taking Dexter to work and seeing so many people smile. Having a dog in the workplace encourages conversations in relation to wellbeing."

Eva

Eva sitting on grass looking away from the camera wearing her OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Hungarian Vizsla
  • Likes: Tummy rubs
  • Favourite toy: Pumpkin soft toy
  • Character / traits: Eva is a velcro dog, and needs to be in contact always
  • Favourite food: Salmon

Steve Dakin is Eva's handler. Steve is employed in the training department, his core role is that of a driver trainer, he is also a qualified teacher and coach.

Steve said: "In being an OK9 handler it allows me to share experiences and empathise with the plight of others, whilst sharing the joy the dogs bring. Eva is certainly more suited to a one-to-one or a small group setting and loves to cuddle when acquainted with people."  

Jasper

Jasper the English Springer Spaniel sitting on the kitchen floor wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: English Springer Spaniel
  • Likes: Balls, chasing leaves, and having cuddles
  • Favourite toy: Anything ball related
  • Character / traits: Jasper has a mischievous personality - he’s also very loving and cuddly, always wanting to get on someone’s lap for a fuss
  • Favourite food: Absolutely anything and everything, but dad’s Sunday dinners are the best

Jasper's handlers are Rachel and Ryan. Rachel is a detective in CID within Doncaster and Ryan is a response officer within Doncaster. They said: "We feel so lucky to be able to bring Jasper to work with us. He brings us so much joy and we feel proud that he’s able to spread this to others. The happy smiley faces of officers when a dog enters the room tells you everything you need to know about this scheme and the positive impact it is having."

Ken

OK9 Ken SYP

 

  • Breed: Yellow Labrador
  • Likes: Being with people, chasing around the fields, and cuddles on the sofa
  • Favourite toy: A teddy pheasant
  • Character / traits: Loving, patient, very happy dog
  • Favourite food: Cheese

"My name is Jennifer Thorne and besides my usual role of secretary to our operations complex command team, I am also an OK9 coordinator and handler. Ken has been deployed within SYP since March 2022 and is making a world of difference to the people he meets.

"He loves coming to work and helping our colleagues, be it attending a briefing after a traumatic event, conferences, or general morale and wellbeing visits – he loves them all."

Lola

OK9 dog Lola SYP

 

  • Breed: Hungarian Vizsla
  • Likes: People
  • Favourite toy: Tug of war type toys
  • Character / traits: Lots of hugs
  • Favourite food: Fantastic appetite

Lola's handler is Steve Dakin, he is employed in the training department, his core role is that of a driver trainer, he is also a qualified teacher and coach.

Steve said: "Being an OK9 handler allows me to share experiences and empathise with the plight of others, whilst sharing the joy the dogs bring.

"Lola is a very sociable dog, who love to be around and to meet people. The breed is known as a velcro dog, due to the compulsion to be with and touching people."

Lola

Lola the Boxer sitting on the floor looking at the camera wearing her OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Boxer
  • Likes: Balls, sticks, treats, other dogs, and people
  • Favourite toy: Ball
  • Character / traits: Likes cuddles, and will run to greet other dogs
  • Favourite food: Cheese

Francene is a police officer with almost 25 years service. She is currently stationed at Ecclesfield Police Station within the mental health and vulnerabilities team. 

Francene said: "Being an OK9 handler is like no other role in the police. It is unique and rewarding and on my very first assignment, I saw firsthand the impact Lola made during a stressful situation.

"Lola is a loving and loyal dog who adores human contact. Although she is nearly ten she still enjoys playing with other dogs and her toys. She enjoys meeting officers in different stations and cheers any room up when she walks in. She has a habit of sitting on people's feet and knees if she gets the chance."

Louie

Louie the Springer Spaniel lying on the floor wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Springer Spaniel
  • Likes: Belly rubs
  • Favourite toy: Doesn’t really like toys, prefers real-life fluffy things
  • Character / traits: Finding dead things and eating them
  • Favourite food: Lives for food - any food, especially yours

Louie is owned by Michael Patton and Larissa Porter who both work for South Yorkshire Police.  Michael is based on a response team at Doncaster as the designated response car driver and Larissa is based in Doncaster reactive CID. 

"Being an OK9 handler gives you the joy of sharing your fluffy best friend with your colleagues and brightening their day. Louie literally smiles which is infectious to those around him."

Ronnie

Ronnie the English Springer Spaniel lying on grass wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: English Springer Spaniel
  • Likes: Ronnie enjoys long walks and muddy puddles
  • Favourite toy: Ronnie’s favourite toy is a tennis ball
  • Character / traits: Loving, loyal, child-friendly, and energetic
  • Favourite food: Ronnie likes dog biscuits, however, is partial to a slice of pizza

Ronnie's handler is PC Georgina Taylor who works within the CAPE unit based at Main Street, Rotherham. She is responsible for the development and welfare of new student officers.

Georgina said: "Being an OK9 handler is rewarding it's fantastic working with my family pet, however, it’s great to boost moods when you walk into a room. Ronnie is a wonderful tool to use to break the ice with new students and reduce anxiety levels.

"Ronnie enjoys meeting all kinds of people and has a friendly caring nature. He is emotionally intelligent and won't judge or talk back to anyone. His purpose is to make you smile."

Woodstock (‘Woody’)

Woody the Black Sprocker sitting with a tennis ball wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Black Sprocker
  • Likes: The ball and lots and lots of attention
  • Favourite toy: Tennis ball and ‘Baby Chick’
  • Character / traits: Very mischievous and cheeky
  • Favourite food: Not really bothered would rather play

"I am PC Raechel Mayfield, ex-police dog handler of 10 years, have 26 years service in total and live with my husband Dave and our dog ‘Woody’.

"I currently work in Sheffield safer neighbourhood services, and I am over the moon to have the chance to provide smiles and laughs with Woody as a wellbeing dog.  Woody is full of energy and loves a cuddle…and really really loves a tennis ball – it’s the simple things.

"I have seen a dramatic difference in the morale of staff who we have visited so far within the force, and have had lovely comments on what a beautiful and playful dog Woody is - may it long continue."

Buddy

  • Breed: Springer Spaniel Whippet cross
  • Likes: The dog life
  • Favourite toy: Tug
  • Character / traits: A happy K9
  • Favourite food: Anything Jess has

PC Jess Gill has been an officer with West Yorkshire Police for 15 years and works in stronger communities. Bud was re-homed with Jess in 2020 at three years old and is a true companion dog. Jess and Bud will be working alongside other officers at district as part of their wellbeing provisions. Jess is an inclusion, diversity and equality ambassador at Bradford.

Buddy

Buddy the Border Collie lying on the ground wearing his OK9 wellbeing dog jacket

 

  • Breed: Border Collie
  • Likes: Cuddles, treats, and playing
  • Favourite toy: Ball
  • Character / traits: He smiles
  • Favourite food: Partial to a gravy bone biscuit

Buddy is a two-year-old Border Collie who is always so happy to meet people and loves other dogs. He is always ready for a game of fetch and loves lots of strokes and cuddles.

PC Sharron Thistlewood is Buddy’s handler, she joined West Yorkshire Police in 1994 and currently works within dispatch at HQ. Sharron is so proud of Buddy and passionate about assisting officers and staff with their wellbeing. She is a TRiM practitioner.