Missing Police Dog 'Thames' Found

Publish Date
Sunday, 10 May 2015, 2:44PM

Missing police search dog Thames has been found safe and well, after vanishing a week ago.

Thames vanished in the Tararua Ranges a week ago near the High Ridge to Totara Creek area at Mt Holdsworth near Masterton as he and his handler, Police Dog Handler & Volunteer Firefighter Constable Mike Wakefield were returning from a routine search and rescue exercise with a small group on Sunday morning.

His disappearance sparked a search and rescue appearance that saw more than 20 volunteers, fellow handlers, and off-duty officers tracking through the rugged terrain and patrolling nearby roads in case Thames had made his way out of the forest park. They even spent a few nights camped out in the bush.

Police this afternoon said search teams including his handler Constable Mike Wakefield found the German shepherd a bit hungry but in good condition just before 1pm today.

His handler, Constable Mike Wakefield said Thames, who had himself successfully helped track down a lost woman, was an operational frontline police dog and member of his family since the pair started working together about three years ago.

"He's a pretty good dog and he has his own quirks, he loves running in circles and chasing his own tail. We'd developed a pretty good bond, we've been a team for the last three years - we work together, we eat together, we play together - so yeah, we're pretty close. He's part of the family."

Mr Wakefield said Wairarapa Land Search and Rescue team members, police colleagues, and the public response had been overwhelming and "heart-warming" in the wake of Thames' disappearance.

Well-wishers had included the offer of a helicopter, "a little girl in Taupo who drew me a beautiful picture", to people from Auckland to Nelson volunteering to search.

We are delighted to report that police dog Thames has been found this afternoon safe and well in the Tararua Ranges....

Posted by New Zealand Police on Saturday, 9 May 2015

- Image; Lynda Ferninga