A HEROIC police dog who saved a woman’s life has been celebrated at the inaugural Blue Paw Awards.

The Thin Blue Paw Foundation is a national dog welfare charity that celebrates and supports working and retired police dogs across the UK.

It held its first awards to acknowledge and recognise the dedication of police dogs and their handlers in fighting crime, saving lives and keeping their communities safe.  

German Shepherd PD Eva, three, joined Surrey and Sussex Police Joint Dog Unit in December 2018 as a general purpose dog.

Claire and PD Eva

Claire and PD Eva

She works with experienced handler PC Claire Bird after the retirement of her previous dog, Fiji. 

On Tuesday, PD Eva and PC Bird received a “highly commended” certificate after coming runners-up in the lifesaver award, after coming to the aid of a vulnerable woman in June. 

PC Bird said: “A suicidal woman absconded from a mental health hospital and Eva was first on the scene. My colleagues had been searching for hours – including a drone operator – but as they began to run out of hope, we rallied the troops and continued looking.

Claire and PD Eva

Claire and PD Eva


“We’d been searching for two hours when suddenly we heard a cough and Eva found the woman in a garden.

“Eva has a phenomenal nose and, thanks to her training, led us to the right area.

“The woman had a ligature tied around her neck and had slipped down the drain pipe she’d attempted to hang herself from, she was unconscious.  

“I started first aid while Eva licked the woman’s facial injuries and we requested support from colleagues. 

“Thanks to the team work of all of the officers we were able to get to her in time and get her the help she needed; and Eva was a huge part of that. I couldn’t be prouder of her.” 

A police dog who was stabbed twice and a sniffing sensation who has taken tens of thousands of pounds of crime cash and drugs off the streets were also honoured for their commitment to the job. 

The trio of heroic dogs were acknowledged as runners-up at the inaugural Thin Blue Paw Awards – supported by Animal Friends Insurance – which took place at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire, on Tuesday evening

Honourable mentions

With so many fantastic police dogs working in Sussex, we thought we would scour our archives for the pooches who deserve recognition for taking a bite out of crime this year.


PD Hox

PD Hox

Hox found a teenager suspected of burglary hiding behind a wall after tracking him through a building site.

Two people were seen running away from the site in School Road, Hove, before climbing scaffolding and jumping a 15ft fence to escape police at around 10.27pm on April 8.

The pair managed to break cover by climbing on to the roof of houses and began to garden-hop.

Police gave chase but thought they had lost the pair when 20-month-old Hox was tasked to join the search.

The German Shepherd found a teenager hiding behind a nearby garden wall shortly afterwards.


PD Phantom

PD Phantom

Phantom helped catch a suspected thief after finding stolen items hidden in a bush.

Police were called to a home in Worthing Road, Southwater, at 2.30 am on August 10 after a homeowner spotted that the security light on his driveway had been set off.

A suspect reportedly wearing a balaclava fled the area after being confronted.

PC Jamie Jackson from Surrey and Sussex Police’s dog unit attended and stopped the man nearby.

He saw the suspect discard items in a bush and German Shepherd Phantom went in to recover the stolen goods.


PD Tsar

PD Tsar

Newly-qualified Tsar had a successful start to his career, contributing to the arrests of two men.

In the early hours of Sunday, June 27, a red Nissan X-Trail was being pursued by Kent Police before it entered Sussex.

Sussex officers assisted and located the vehicle abandoned in Buckholt Lane, Bexhill, with a motocross bike which was thought to be stolen in the back.

Despite numerous distractions, Tsar led his handler over a fence line and through a hole that had been created in the foliage of the bordering woodland.

He then continued onto a farm track, where the two suspects were detained and arrested by assisting officers.