Dog Teams

I've often mentioned that the ambulance service and the police tend to get on rather well together, this is at least in part due to us both being called to the same jobs, and probably because we share the same view of the “Great British Public”.
An example, we got called to a drunk who was being verbally abusive to a bus driver – we were called because the drunk had fallen over, while the police were called because of the abuse. The drunk man was obnoxious, and well known to both of our services, and because of the lack of an injury was left in the care of the police. If he had been injured then the police would have left the matter in our hands.

So, when we co-respond, the ambulance crew pray that the patient is uninjured, so the police have to deal with them, while I suspect that the police hope that the patient is injured so they don't have to arrest them.

However, there are a lot of specialist teams in the police service that we tend not to come into contact with that often, we mainly get to meet the normal 'beat' coppers. Thankfully we rarely see the murder, child abuse, drugs, or dog teams. This isn't to say we never see then (and our station did get a Christmas card from the local murder squad telling us to 'keep up the good work'), it's just that it is fairly rare.

So it was rather surprising that I met with the dog handling team twice last week. On the first occasion, we were called to a known schizophrenic who had threatened to kill herself. The patient herself (a regular attender at the local A&E) was a bit of a pain to deal with, she wanted to stay at home and kill herself and couldn't see why we couldn't let her do that. Her dog, on the other hand, was a real pleasure – happy to see us, interested in smelling all our equipment and extremely friendly. As the police were already there, they got the dog squad to look after the animal until the patient was discharged from hospital.

In case you think I am being harsh on the mentally ill, the patient attends A&E every day with the same complaint of wanting to kill themselves…she hasn't managed it yet

The second time I saw the dog handling team, was when we had to gain access to a house where the patient was unable to come to the front door and let us in. The interesting part in this story is that there were five dogs of unknown temperament in the house. For half an hour the police unsuccessfully tried to gain access, mainly by climbing up a ladder and trying to open a bathroom window. We were able to talk to the patient, and so we knew that they weren't badly hurt, otherwise we would have had to kick the door down. Then the dog team turned up, and using a top secret criminal technique, managed to get the front door open in about 10 seconds, thus putting to shame the half-hour everyone else had spent trying to gain entry.

All five dogs were really lovely, although energetic – and at the end of the job I had to spend 20 minutes brushing the dog hair off my uniform.

There is a joke we have about dogs. When we ask a patient if the dog is friendly, the patient always answers that they won't bite, the reply to this from the ambulance crew is to add the unspoken, “They only bite people dressed all in green”.

Finally, to reply to some of the comments and emails about my posts about 24 hour drinking. I suspect that part of the problem is the term used. We should stop using the phrase “Binge Drinking”, and instead use the term “People who drink to get drunk”. I think that might clear up a lot of confusion…

13 thoughts on “Dog Teams”

  1. Also just discovered your blog – by accident :-)sorry, its late…

    hope to read lots more (from the past and from the future)

    Its amazing how much time we lose browsing the web in search of discovering a few good blogs…

    Best wishes,


  2. “Top secret criminal technique”? C'mon you have to tell us. I promise I won't tell anyone else! Did they turn the door handle?I knew an ex-AA man (that's the car one!), who used to carry a collection of coat-hangers and nail files in his boot. He'd pick one out and say – “Fiesta” and then show us the technique required to open the door. He said he always had fun explaining it to police when they pulled him over and asked to search the car.

  3. My son won't believe me that I didn't have a drink on New Years Eve. But I didn't! I was sober!Mind you I was sober the NYE that I managed to sprain my thumb!

    It is slightly insane to increase drinking hours when they're having a hissy fit about fast food advertising. Looks like they want their tax revenue without the hassle of dealing with the issues.

    Di At

  4. A policeman told me once that the best way to open your front door if you are locked out which I was at the time – 'which is what most burglars do' he said cheerfully – is to run a section of hard plastic bottle between the door and doorframe which normally catches most locks. As for suicide-girl – sounds like the usual 'care in the community' is working well!!

  5. I work as a dispatcher in the US and in Superior (the city I work for), on New Years Eve, they let the bars stay open all night. They've noticed, over the years, that when they do this it works better for the police force because instead of there being a “bar rush” where you're dealing with all of the drunks trying to leave and fighting at the same time, you're dealing with a few at a time.So instead of having to hire, or have on, more police officers, you're keeping the ones you already have on busier, all night.

    Although the bars (in Douglas County) have lobbied several times to be able to stay open all night every night, and it's never passed.

    -Pete (

  6. Most people drink to get drunk, I mean why else destroy all the lil' brain cells??!But a lot of people are scummy babies crying out for mummy state to hold them, and good luck to you dealing with it I say!

  7. Hi got the link to here from the BBC article and have spent the last two extremely (ha) productive days at work reading back through the entire blog. Have to say its very amusing and insightful, i have forwarded the link to my little sis who begings paramedic training in Febuary in Manchester. I hope she enjoys it too!Claire ( a shamefull Livejournal user with asperations to use blogware 😛 )

  8. *giggles* Coming from a medical background (my mum was a nurse and now a Pharmaceutical salesperson, I'm a first year Zoology/Archaeology student) I thought that this would be an okay laugh. (Linked from the BBC website) I've just spent all day reading every single post.God – you're better than I am. I'm trying to write for a living and you have readers falling over effortlessly.

    You . . . suck. So much.

    Still – write more. Maybe I can pass some of it off as my own and the publishers will never know. You're very talented and very funny and very . . . honest. This is why I chose not to go into medicine . . . And your blog is the exact kind of thing that makes me wish I had.

    Oh well. It's very late and looming exams makes me blab on about nothing in particular. So I leave you now with firm convictions that you'll be equally as funny tomorrow.


  9. I like the line from “Time Gentlemen Please” :”We don't call them alcoholics – we prefer to call them 'Those for whom simply being alive is reason enough to celebrate' “

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