Harvey is a tri-colour border collie with an aptitude to succeed. He was re-homed and adopted by his handler, fire investigation officer Sean White, from a family in Wiltshire who couldn’t give him the time he craved. He initially enrolled with Dorset search dogs and successfully completed the level one lowland search course, but when he visited Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service HQ it soon became apparent that he had an aptitude to follow in the paw prints of Saxon, Harley and Millie, who were the fire investigation search dogs at the time.
Harvey has been part of some high-level investigations throughout Hampshire, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey and Dorset. On his days off he enjoys improving his football skills and rounding up the chickens at his home in Fareham.
Ruby is a liver and white English springer spaniel who was originally working at Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue service until her handler left the service. As she still needed to work due to her high play drive, she was taken on by her handler Sean White. She joined Harvey and soon bonded with him and her handler, making herself part of the family. As a typical spaniel, she loves water and will often have a splash about in the sea, even if the tide is out and it is very muddy.
Ruby has been involved in some high-level investigations including being part of the team that convicted an arsonist for 25 years for attempted murder. She also loves attending community events where she demonstrates her abilities. Ruby is near retirement and is looking forward to putting her paws up and keeping an eye on and keeping in check her replacement, trainee fire investigation search dog Louis.
Hoodie is a four-year-old black labrador. He was initially trained and handled by Fire Investigation Officer Graham Howlett and first qualified to work fire scenes with Hampshire Constabulary in 2018. On Graham’s retirement in 2019, Hoodie was taken on by fire investigation officer Andy Earl. Initially, Hoodie worked alongside Andy’s spaniel, Millie until her retirement in 2020. Hoodie has assisted several police forces with their investigations, including two murder cases.
Hoodie regularly trains with the other dogs under the watchful eye of former police officer Ian Franklin, who volunteers his time to the dog section for weekly training sessions. Hoodie trains once a month with the Hampshire and Thames Valley Joint Operations Unit and is assessed every year to confirm his (and Andy’s) ability to work crime scenes.
When not on duty, Hoodie enjoys being at home where he is a much-loved member of the Earl family. He enjoys playing in the garden with retired search dog Millie and sausage dog Ada. He likes his exercise and walks around 10km every day. He loves the water and is currently learning to paddle board with Andy.
Recently qualified Louis is a three-year-old liver and white working English springer spaniel who was re-homed from his family by Fire Investigation Officer Sean White. Louis, who was originally called Bolt, was too much to handle for his family as he has a very high play drive. Nicknamed ‘the pocket rocket’, Louis started training under the supervision of FISD Harvey and Ruby and picked it up very quickly. His high play drive was soon channelled into his training and soon calmed down as he was now getting the mental and physical stimulation he craved.
His favourite game is searching and retrieving a tennis ball and he also learnt to retrieve eggs from the chicken coop. He has learnt to be methodical when he is searching.
Louis loves getting out to community events and meeting people and enjoys showing off his talents by demonstrating his search abilities. He also loves getting wet with Ruby and will jump at the chance to splash around in the sea.
Our newest member of the team Eric was gifted to HIWFRS from Manchester FRS following the retirement of their dog handler. He is a 3 1/2-year-old black Labrador Retriever, and along with his handler Graham Howlett, is trained to search fire scenes for the possible presence of ignitable liquids used in the setting of deliberate fires (arson).
As soon as Graham gets Eric out of the van and dresses him in his PPE harness and boots, Eric is ready to go to work. Placing the harness and boots on Eric is like “flicking a light switch on”, Eric knows it is time for work and he is eager to start. When Eric locates the remains of an ignitable liquid he is trained to “freeze” in position and place his nose on the exact area that is contaminated. Eric will then stay in position until his handler clicks and rewards him, the result being one happy dog, one Happy handler, a happy CSI, and a safer Hampshire.
Work is Play and Play is Work with Eric. He loves nothing more than running around the New Forest
with his new USAR K9 buddy Harley for hours on end and his favourite thing is a tennis ball.