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Pawsing from the frontline - Detector Dog Indy retires

04.00pm 13 February 2017 | News

After a stellar six years on the job for Customs, detector dog Indy is taking it down a notch as she heads into retirement on 13 February.

Indy is a golden Labrador and dual-trained drug and cash detector. She has been a familiar sight at the airport and in the community and has gained celebrity status as one of the stars of the television series Dog Squad.

“Indy is a natural film star and takes everything in her stride, she is always willing to show her clever she is to the camera crew” says her trainer Pettina.

Indy has worked across a number of different Customs areas including Auckland International Airport, the International Mail Centre, and checking arriving and departing yachts. She has also involved in the Police DARE programme, which teaches children and young people about avoiding illegal drugs and making sensible choices.

Born on 12 July 2009, Indy was chosen from the Australian Customs breeding programme in Melbourne, and alongside Isla (her sister), Zen (her half-brother), and Jerry and was trained to detect white powders and methamphetamine precursors. She started working in New Zealand in December 2010 with her handler, Senior Customs Officer, Chad Golding and throughout her Customs career she increased her drug detecting capability through regular training and also learned to sniff for large amounts of cash.

Within a few months on the job Indy proved that she had what it takes when she found 3 kgs of Contac NT, a methamphetamine precursor, hidden inside a package from Hong Kong at Auckland’s International Mail Centre. This was the first of many big finds for Indy which included more than 40 kgs of class A drugs, 26 kgs of class B drugs, 1.5 kgs cannabis, and over $250,000 in cash.

Her handler, Chad says “the highlight for me would be her Class A drug detection on passengers at the airport — it’s such a challenging environment.”

In 2016, Indy and Chad won the Regional Dog Trials then went on to win the National Police Dog Championship. Both competitions test the skills of drug detector teams with a variety of scenarios encountered in the day-to-day working environment. Indy took the top prize for narcotic detection winning the Alan Symes Cup for best working narcotics detector dog and the New Zealand Customs Cup for class A narcotics detection.

“Having the opportunity to compete against New Zealand’s best drug detector teams and taking first place was great way to show off the top dog skills Indy gained throughout her successful Customs career.”

“Indy has such a good temperament and is so hardworking and obedient. She has been a credit to Customs and I couldn’t have asked for a better K9 partner” says Chad.

Retirement for Indy means spending more time at home with Chad and his family and getting out whenever she can to play at the local park and beach.

“I’m sure retirement will take a bit of getting use to for Indy, but I’ll keep her busy and she will soon adjust to days lying in the sun,” says Chad.

Indy will be missed by both her human and K9 colleagues but we’re all wishing her a happy retirement and hope she stops by for a visit from time-to-time.