Max, Edie and Joe, the farm workers

Meet Border Collies Max, Edie and Joe in this month’s episode of Dogs with Jobs. Together, they ensure a successful lambing operation on Rothercombe Farm.

It’s the calm before the storm in Stroud, as sheep farmer Andrew Snow gears up for the busiest six weeks of the year. With 1,925 lambs due in a few weeks’ time, he’s planning logistics. The border collies are fundamental to the smooth running of the lambing season, which means long and arduous days for dogs and family alike.

With around a thousand expectant ewes on the farm, things can get a little intense.

L-R Gary (15) retired, Max (7), Joe (2) and Edie (5). Although they work flexibly, each has particular strengths.

Senior statesman Gary (15) is living out his retirement in the farmhouse, with the Snow family. Out in the kennels, team leader Max (5) remains top dog, though retains a worrying interest in the family guinea pigs. Joe (2) fancies his chances for the top job since becoming a dad to Edie’s puppies over the winter months. Now the pups have left home, Edie (5) is back to work full time.

Gary is enjoying his retirement, while Edie has recently returned from maternity leave with renewed focus and maturity.

The collies are fighting fit and ready for anything with their boundless energy. Except a team photo(!)

The collies are speedy and light on the their feet, circling the garden, as they will circle the fields when lambing begins.

Andrew explains to Kate Fairweather how the dogs work in concert with him to ensure a successful lambing operation.

Do you work your dog?

If you would consider participating in Shine Radio’s monthly Dogs with Jobs podcast, why not get in touch with Kate at team@shineradio.uk?

Caring dogs, service dogs, sporting dogs – the more varied the better! She’s interested in them all and would love to hear from you.

Throwback: Lottie, the missing persons investigator

A bonus episode of Dogs with Jobs!

Working dog expert and retired handler Jim Noble has had a long and varied career handling sporting dogs, police dogs, sniffer dogs and other specialist working dogs.

P.D. Lottie with Jim Noble and canine colleague P.D. Lock in 2003

A highlight of his long career working dogs was training a talented young bloodhound, Lottie.

In the early 2000s the Hampshire Constabulary’s Dog Unit, as it was then, invested in its first ever pair of bloodhounds, with a view to training them for missing persons cases, owing to their superior scent-tracking capabilities.

As a Police Dog handler, Jim Noble trained P.D.Lottie for nearly a year tracking individual subjects using the scent of a personal item. Their training sessions took place in Queen Elizabeth Country Park and many other favourite Petersfield beauty spots.

He tells Kate Fairweather about Lottie’s first ever deployment in 2003. The sound is a bit crackly, as the interview was conducted by telephone during the lockdown, but Jim’s pride in a superb work partner comes across loud and clear.

Lottie in tracking mode, with Jim Noble following on behind. PICTURE: MALCOLM WELLS ( 034309-189 )

Do you work your dog?

If you would consider participating in Shine Radio’s monthly Dogs with Jobs podcast, why not get in touch with Kate at team@petersfieldradio.uk. Caring dogs, service dogs, sporting dogs – the more varied the better! She’s interested in them all and would love to hear from you.

Didi, the police dog

She’s intelligent, friendly and cuts an elegant figure. She’s also considerably smaller and lighter than many of her police dog colleagues, making her all too easy to underestimate.

Meet Police Dog (P.D.) Didi. A Belgian Malinois, her speed and agility make her superb police dog material. She can touch 33 mph and jump a six foot fence from standing.

P.D. Didi is a Belgian Mallinois and can run well over 30 mph when giving chase

A busy and sociable puppyhood has left P.D. Didi easygoing with the general public, children and other dogs. A secondment to Portsmouth has lent her a touch of swagger. Her steadfastness and amenable personality are a great foundation to progress within the police from a general role into a more specialised area.

P.C. Beale works on obedience with Didi every day and they are tested regularly as a team to stay licensed

Her handler, P.C. Stacy Beale has worked with her for two years. They cover the Petersfield area as part of their overall patch, which takes in north and east Hampshire.

P.C. Beale with P.D. Didi and P.D. Ruby, a former gun dog who now works as a Specialist Search Dog.

P.C. Beale, talks to Kate Fairweather about her abilities, their relationship and what it takes to make it in the police dog world.

P.C Beale has two police dogs in the car – P.D. Didi and P.D. Ruby, her tracking dog.

And, in case you were interested…they also discuss how you become a police dog handler.

How to become a police dog puppy socialiser volunteer.

Do you work your dog?

If you would consider participating in Shine Radio’s monthly Dogs with Jobs podcast, why not get in touch with Kate at team@petersfieldradio.uk?

Caring dogs, service dogs, sporting dogs – the more varied the better! She’s interested in them all and would love to hear from you.

What qualities make a good therapy dog?

Patricia Bland, regional coordinator for the Petersfield Area for Pets as Therapy, explains the qualities she looks when assessing a dog’s suitability for therapy work.

Patricia Bland's own dogs work as therapy dogs.
Patricia’s own flat coat retrievers , Margaux (5) and Fleurie (8) both work as PAT dogs – though not at the same time

Patricia gives an idea of the range of roles these dogs take on within the Petersfield area. Therapy work can be done by any dog – it’s the temperament that’s key to success.

More information from petsastherapy.org

Acorn, the school reading assistant

School can be daunting when you’re four, especially if you struggle with reading or are a bit shy. Sometimes all you need is some encouragement from a friend, who sits with you in the school library.

In the first edition of our new series, Dogs with Jobs, meet Acorn.  He’s a well known figure around Petersfield.  Blond-haired, very large and very gentle, he works as a reading assistant at Petersfield Infants and Herne School. 

Acorn the school reading assistant
Blond-haired gentle giant Acorn the golden retriever

On a chilly January morning, Kate Fairweather is charmed by Acorn, and hears about his caring career from his owner, Judy Bridgeland. He has provided support to schoolchildren and delighted hospital patients too, in Petersfield over the last four years How did Judy know he would be a success? She explains the qualities that have allowed him to shine in this role, and what it entails.

Judy took on Acorn at seven years old as a rescue. She has worked him as a PAT therapy dog in Petersfield hospital as well as schools.

How do dogs become school reading assistants, anyway?

Pets as Therapy (PAT) is a voluntary organisation that matches volunteers and their dogs with caring settings, such as schools and care homes. If you think your dog might make a good PAT therapy dog, get in touch via its website or contact Patricia Bland, regional coordinator for the Petersfield area, for more information.

Do you work your dog?

If you would consider participating in Shine Radio’s monthly Dogs with Jobs podcast, why not get in touch with Kate at team@petersfieldradio.uk. Caring dogs, service dogs, sporting dogs – the more varied the better! She’s interested in them all and would love to hear from you.