Dog who flunked police training for being “too friendly” becomes hero after earthquake

Dog who flunked police training for being “too friendly” becomes hero after earthquake

We love the good work that police dogs do, but not every dog has the right personality for the job. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be heroes in their own way.

That’s what one dog is proving: after being rejected from the police for being too friendly, he found an important new role helping in the aftermath of an earthquake.

Roger, an 8-year-old Labrador retriever, trained as a puppy to be a drug-sniffing dog for Taiwan’s Customs Administration, but flunked out — not because he wasn’t smart enough, but because he was “too friendly and boisterous” for the job, his handler Lee Hsin Hung told the New York Times.

While that job didn’t work out, Lee thought the pup had potential to be a great search-and-rescue dog. “He was very agile, his movements were very bold, and he didn’t let anything fence him in,” he said. “He thought he could overcome any difficulties.”

“I’m not saying he was not good or that he didn’t get along with others. But the requirement for narcotic detection dogs is that they can’t be too restless and independent,” said Chen Chih-san, captain of the Kaohsiung Fire Department’s rescue dog unit, per CNN.

“But (these attributes) are what we want in rescue dogs.”

According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, Roger went on his first rescue mission in 2018, searching for survivors after a 6-magnitude earthquake. He has since taken part in 7 search and rescue missions.

KAOHSIUNG, TAIWAN – APRIL 03: (—-EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT – ‘KAOHSIUNG FIRE DEPARTMENT / HANDOUT’ – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS—-) Members of Kaohsiung Fire Department prepare to go to Hualien city of the country after a strong earthquake, 7.4 magnitude, occurred this morning, causing disasters in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on April 03, 2024. Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in a quarter century rocked the island during the morning rush Wednesday, damaging buildings and creating a tsunami that washed ashore on southern Japanese islands. (Photo by Kaohsiung Fire Department/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Last week, Taiwan was hit by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake. According to CNN it’s the most powerful earthquake to hit the nation in 25 years, causing over a thousand injuries and 13 deaths.

Following this disaster, Roger was on the scene with a search and rescue team, and according to CNA found the body of a missing 21-year-old woman.

Lee recalled to the Times that Roger, who was trained to search for survivors, circled back to one location and started sniffing: he then discovered the “leg of the deceased.”

It’s tragic, but it’s important work, and Roger’s actions will make it possible for the victim’s family to give her a proper burial.

Roger’s story has been picked up by news organizations worldwide. While there are several other search and rescue dogs helping in the aftermath, Roger’s unique and unlikely backstory has made him stand out as a hero.

His unexpected new career will soon be coming to an end: he will retire from duty at the end of this year when he turns 9, and the department will reportedly find him a good home.

Roger may not have been a perfect fit for the police, but it’s inspiring that he found his purpose as a search-and-rescue dog and has been doing such important work in the wake of disasters.

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