Monday 16 September 2013

A tribute to cleo 31 August 2011 to 4 September 2013-09-15

Cleo with ball sat looking out over the river Exe

I am still in shock as are Cleo’s family Chris, Donna, Tom and Jake and our extended family of puppy walkers and police dog handlers at Cleo’s sudden death at the family home on Tuesday 4 September 2013 from a stomach torsion.

Cleo had been mated to a stud dog 4 weeks previously and began showing signs of lethargy and general lack of energy after about 2 weeks. Such was the concern of the family she was taken to the vets on 3 occasions. She had no temperature and scans showed no obvious problems. It was assumed she was just having a difficult pregnancy. A post mortem showed evidence of a tumour developing behind the liver and the fluid caused by the pregnancy had restricted space for food intake which caused the torsion. She was carrying at least 7 pups.

Cleo was one of 5 litter brothers and sisters bred in Wales of dutch breeding who I assessed and brought back to our force aged 8 weeks on the 26 of October 2011. Once I got them back at my house I noticed they were all suffering from an acute stomach upset which was confirmed as Coccidia a parasite which infects the small intestine. They remained with me for several weeks as I needed to stabilise them before they could be allocated to their new puppy walkers. For several weeks it was touch and go with both Nero and Archie having to be rushed to the vet and needing to go onto a drip to recover.

3 men and 5 puppies
They are pictured here at 10 weeks of age with my colleagues on there way back to full fitness with Cleo in the middle. Her brothers were Regan, Archie, Nero and her sister Sally. Cleo was the out and out boss in the litter and was a big personality from the start. (pictured above).

They are all pictured here at their first get together at 13 weeks of age when they had all fully recovered. pics 2.3,4.

Cleo is on the right.

Group photo
Cleo is in the middle

Five puppies in a static police car hanging out of the windows
Cleo is on the right.

I had realised from the start that Cleo was special and so I kept her with me for further evaluation. even at this early stage I wanted to use her as the foundation for our breeding programe. When she was 4 months old I allocated her to her new puppy walkers Chris and Donna Highton and their boys Tom and Jake.

From the moment Cleo went to the family they did a brilliant job of socialising her and never missed a training session.
Group photo
Shows the dutch litter at training from left to right Archie, Cleo with Chris, Donna and son Jake, Sally, Regan and Nero.

Archie and Sally are now operational police dogs in Devon and Cornwall. Nero is an operational police dog in Thames Valley. Regan is a border police patrol dog in America. I have included 1 other group photo below showing how the scheme is very much a family affair.

Group photo sunny day
I have also included some photo’s of Cleo training with the love of her life Chris.

Walking Cleo on a nice sunny day
Chris showing his superior fitness keeping up with Cleo who is tracking me down  as I hide behind a tree out of view.

Cloe jumping over a hurdle with Chris holding onto her lead
Cleo going over the hurdle. (shame about the knees Chris)

Chris holding onto Cleo's lead as she walks over the ramp
Cleo going over the ramp and the obvious pride and joy written all over Chris’s face.

Cloe jumping through a training window
Going through the window jump.

Cleo walking the blank
Cleo boldly going up and over the narrow walkway.

Cleo with Jack

 Showing Cleo’s wonderful nature with young puppy Jack.

I am not ashamed to admit I have shed a lot of tears writing this tribute. I am  devastated at her loss but I take comfort in knowing that she adored her family Chris, Donna, Tom and Jake and couldn't possibly have been happier in the short time she was with them.

Cleo sat on bench with Chris and a pint of beer
I thought I would finish by demonstrating how Chris and Cleo used to maintain their incredible fitness with one of their many training sessions at their favourate fitness centre.

I raise my glass to a special dog.  Who knows Cleo maybe one day we will meet again and you will let me have my ball back first time without me having to negotiate with you. Rest in peace special one.

Paul Glennon


  1. Paul, i'm stunned right now. Thank you. it's not often i'm lost for words.

    Chris H

  2. Well said Paul. I hope her siblings will make he proud. Andi and Sister Sally

  3. Very sad paul and for the family my heart goes out to you all x


Please leave a comment to this post subject to moderation