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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 March 2008, 18:56 GMT
Former police dog back on 'beat'
Max with owner Insp Anne Higgins
Max has a new career ahead as a therapy dog for the elderly
A specially adapted harness has put a spring back in the step of Max the springer spaniel.

The former police drug sniffer dog was forced into early retirement by Avon and Somerset Police because of a hip displasia problem.

But an "off road" wheeled harness has allowed him to get back on the rural beat around his home in Devon.

His owner, Devon and Cornwall Police Insp Anne Higgins, said the harness has given Max a new lease of life.

Max, who was a drugs dog for six years, also suffered from arthritis when he was put on the retired list.

He sees pulling the wheels along as his job
Insp Anne Higgins

"He was advertised by the Avon and Somerset force as looking for a home, and we were selected after being vetted," Insp Higgins said.

Eventually Max could not exercise because he kept losing his balance.

Two police dogs and their handlers from the Avon and Somerset force raised cash by completing a three-peaks challenge and the wheels were made for Max by a specialist firm.

"He absolutely loves them because he associated them with giving him his freedom, and because he has always worked he sees pulling the wheels along as his job," his delighted owner said.

The dog is also in line for a new career as a "therapy dog" for elderly people in care homes.

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