Taiwanese Labrador Retriever Finds New Purpose After Flunking Police Academy

by Lisa

In a heartwarming turn of events, an 8-year-old Labrador retriever named Roger, who was deemed too playful for police work, has become an invaluable asset in search and rescue efforts, particularly in the aftermath of natural disasters such as the recent 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Taiwan.

Originally trained as a drug-sniffing dog at the Customs Administration’s Detector Dog Breeding & Training Center in Taichung, Roger’s exuberant personality led to his dismissal from the police academy, as recounted by his handler, Lee Hsin Hung, to the New York Times via Taiwan’s official Central News Agency (CNA).


Undeterred by his setback, Roger found his calling with the search and rescue team at the Kaohsiung Fire Bureau, where he quickly rose through the ranks to become a respected member of the unit.


According to search and rescue team leader Chen Chih-san, Roger’s playful demeanor proved to be an asset during his first rescue mission following a magnitude-6 earthquake in 2018. Since then, Roger has participated in seven missions, including the recent earthquake that struck Taiwan’s east coast on April 3.


During the latest mission, Roger played a crucial role in locating the body of a young woman buried in rubble in Taroko National Park, further solidifying his reputation as a dependable search and rescue dog.


Despite his professional achievements, Roger’s endearing antics have captured the hearts of many. From attempting to gnaw on a reporter’s microphone to tearing apart a stuffed toy while on camera, Roger’s playful spirit shines through even in the most challenging situations.

In recognition of his hard work, Roger and his fellow search and rescue dogs were rewarded with toys and snacks, highlighting the appreciation for their dedication and service.

As Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-Mai noted, Roger’s enthusiasm remained undimmed even after the mission, as he eagerly enjoyed his rewards, bringing smiles to all those around him.

However, Roger’s illustrious career as a search and rescue dog is nearing its end, as he approaches the age of retirement at 9 years old, as mandated by the Kaohsiung Fire Bureau. Nevertheless, Chih-san assured that Roger will be adopted into a loving home, ensuring a well-deserved rest after years of service to his community.


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