A police dog that saved 38 lives during an eight-year career has been honored at the Thin Blue Paw Awards gala last week.
The 10-year-old German Shepherd retired in June—and celebrated with her handler by going on her first-ever vacation, enjoying playtime on the beach and swimming in the sea.
Scottish police officer Linda McBride first partnered with Luna in December 2012 when the pup was just 12-weeks-old—and, since then, the duo has always looked out for each other.
Based at Larbert in the Central Division of Police Scotland, the 55-year-old officer said the bond between the pair will never be broken. Luna lives with Linda and a pair of active police dogs—a German Shepherd and cocker spaniel—as well as her 91-year-old mother, who has a great relationship with all the dogs.
“Luna would continue to work if the choice was hers,” said PC McBride. “She was an exceptional police dog to work alongside and when I found out she’d won the Lifesaver Award I was blown away; I even cried.”
“Saying I’m proud of Luna at how much she has achieved is an understatement.”
Luna was skilled in searching and tracking high-risk missing people—with 38 successes achieved during her career.
In December 2019, Luna was sent to search for a vulnerable man who had gone missing from his home. She located him hidden in some bushes, suffering from hypothermia and needing immediate hospital care.
In 2015, the pooch managed to find a fingertip that had been bitten off during a fight so that it could be taken to a hospital and doctors could attempt to reattach it for the victim.
Linda believes it is Luna’s intuitive nature that made her so good at searching for missing people too, because she wanted to help—and Thin Blue Paw agrees.
“It’s astounding to read all the stories in which Luna has quite literally saved someone’s life,” said the Foundation’s trustee Kieran Stanbridge. “She’s a true inspiration.”
Linda says Luna has also gained respect from dog handlers, frontline colleagues, and management over the years.
“It’s due to her incredible natural ability to locate people quickly; many of whom would have perished due to their injuries or the elements, without her help.”
“She has a wonderful temperament, particularly when dealing with vulnerable and high-risk people; she seems to know they need her help and shows such compassion towards them.
“But she still had the ability to switch when dealing with a dangerous criminal or anyone who would show violence towards her or me.”