WHEN Worcester police dog handler Louise McMullen was bed-ridden for six months and told she’d never work again she thought her career was over.
After battling back to the beat with her loyal dog Wolfie by her side, it was Louise’s turn to paw-se and repay her faithful friend when he was forced to learn to learn to walk again after being injured in a dramatic police chase crash.
The caring officer was working with police dog Usha when she unexpectedly fell ill in 2012 and was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome – or ME.
Doctors told her she’d never be a serving police officer again but she refused to give up hope of returning to her dream job and thanks to the efforts of West Midlands Police and PD Wolfie, the pair got back on their feet.
German Shepherd Wolfie was a large, experienced general purpose dog who was incredibly loyal and gentle.
“Wolfie and I were put together because my colleagues knew he’d help me get back to work,” Louise said.
“I didn’t have to re-train with a young, boisterous dog which would have added pressure to my already struggling body and put more strain on my physical health.
“We have been together ever since and he has been the most incredible partner. We had many successes and he went on to qualify as a firearms support dog, one of the highest achievements for a working dog.
However in November 2018, the duo were chasing armed robbers who’d used machetes and chainsaws to burgle a local shop when Louise’s car left the road and hit a tree at 40mph.
“I was knocked unconscious and when I woke up the car was on fire. My first thought was that Wolfie was in the back; I had to get my partner out of the car. I crawled out and managed to drag myself around to the boot to get him out. He collapsed and I thought he was going to die.”
Louise had fractured her jaw and eye socket and injured her wrist and spine. Wolfie had been thrown into the metal back of his cage on impact and suffered ‘massive’ internal and spinal injuries.
“Wolfie spent days at the veterinary surgery heavily sedated to ease the pain and needed intensive hydrotherapy and support to help repair the nerves that had been damaged in his rear end,” Louise said.
“He had to learn to walk again – just as I had only a few years earlier – and I was there by his side every step of the way.”
The pair were eventually signed off to return to full duty and hit the ground running but after just six weeks back in the uniform, Louise grew concerned about her four-legged partner.
A return visit to the vets confirmed the worst, Wolfie was suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and faced retirement.
“There was no doubt he’d be coming home with me; not after what he’d done for me and what we’d been through together,” his caring owner said.
While having regular injections to help manage the pain, help was at paw thanks to the Thin Blue Paw Foundation which meets the £185 monthly cost.
Wolfie now lives for barking at the postman and popping footballs and rugby balls together with Louise, her husband, her 14-year-old step-daughter and nine-year-old son.
Louise herself was promoted to Sergeant this year and described her bond with Wolfie as ‘indescribable’.
“He’s been there and put himself in front of danger for me on so many occasions and I can’t thank him enough for that. That I got home to my family of an evening is because of him,” she said.
“Because of the job I’ve asked him to do he now has these injuries so I need to make sure he has the most enjoyment out of life now whilst he can.
“The Thin Blue Paw Foundation has made this possible and I’m so grateful.”