Nigel Allsopp, police dog handler and his black Labrador, Venus, are inseparable. Find out who’s the boss?
Our first Who’s the boss? guest for 2016 is Nigel Allsopp, war historian, specialist dog handler, wildlife expert, published author and TV celebrity. Nigel is the President and Director of the Australian War Animal Memorials (AWAMO), a non-profit organisation that honours the animals of war. Nigel started his career as a Military Working Dog Handler in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1980 and later became a specialist narcotic detection dog handler and an explosive detection handler. Nigel conducted several operational tours of duty which are still classified.
Nigel left the military to pursue a keen interest in wild canine research. He has appeared on several TV wildlife programmes such as Jack Hanna’s (USA) and Steve Irwin’s animal series and several international wildlife documentaries. After a number of years in the wildlife industry the lure of working with dogs again caused Nigel to join the Queensland Police Service (QPS) where he is currently a Senior Constable in the Dog Section both operating and training numerous Specialist Detection Dogs for various Federal and State government Departments. Nigel’s canine colleague at QPS is Venus, a ten year old black Labrador. They have been inseparable for eight years, working together on top secret operations to prevent crime and ensure the safety and security of the community. Find out who’s really the boss between Nigel and Venus.
Who’s the boss: You’ve trained different species over time, what is it you like about dogs?
Nigel: Unlike any exotic or native animal I have trained a dog has one unforgettable trait, its loyalty. No matter what’s happened that day at work, or in your life. As you walk up that driveway you have a mate waiting for you. Unjudging – happy to see you.
That’s why God after all –thought for ages what to call his unique animal- so he simply gave it his own name- just spelt backwards.
Who’s the boss: How long have you and Venus been a team?
Nigel: We have been a team since she was two and now at ten it’s time for her to relax and have a well-deserved rest. I will miss her at work as much as she will miss coming. But the tail gate in the patrol car is getting more difficult to jump up into. Her passion is still there and her ability is probably at its best – but as her best mate I can tell it’s time to retire.
I will look forward to seeing her grow old at my house chasing a ball that my new Grandson learns to throw one day.
Who’s the boss: Can you take us through one of Venus’ achievements?
Nigel: Due to the specialist work she does, no one will ever know get to know how great she is and what she has done. It’s her work and work of others like her that that keep people safe.
Who’s the boss: Who’s really the boss between you and Venus?
Nigel: She’s a women and a dog- do you really need to ask? The last time I looked no one made my meals, washed me, drove me around in a car or picked up my mess, well not since Mum.
Nigel Allsopp has written several books on War Animals and Police Dogs including the best sellers:
- Cry Havoc and Four Legged Diggers,
- K9 Cops,
- Smoky The War Dog and
- Animals In Combat.
His latest book, A Century of Australian Animals At War tells the untold history of Australia’s animal warriors, 100 years ago, their continued use in warfare in present day operations, and the fight to get their deeds officially recognised; a struggle that still goes on today. You can purchase the book here.
You can buy a purple poppy to commemorate the sacrifice of animals during War. Funds raised from the sale of purple poppies are used by AWAMO to establish memorials around Australia and overseas in places like France and Gallipoli to recognise the sacrifice animals have made in the aid or comfort of defence personnel.