Bogotá sniffer dogs recognized for decades of bravery and service

It probably wasn’t the treat two of Bogotá’s top dogs were expecting in a retirement ceremony, but at least a paw-shake from their guardian National Police officer Alexánder Cantor recognized more than two decades of sniffing explosives, narcotics and the tracks of missing persons.

On Thursday at the Metropolitan Police headquarters in Bogotá, “Lena” and “Still,” a Czech Shepherd and Belgian Malinois respectively, were awarded high honors for their careers at the Criminal Investigations Division; and in recognition of their duties and loyalty to the force, were handed over to adoptive families.

“We visited these homes to make sure Lena and Still will be well taken care of,” remarked officer Miguel Fernández, director of the division. “I want to offer Lena all the love and years that are left […] give her all the rest and affection she deserves because she is a dog that has given so much to so many,” said Lena’s adoptive’s parent Alejandra Yate. Lena arrived in Colombia from Holland in 2013 and was one of the institution’s bravest explosives experts. After 11-years of service Still was given in care to the Pulidos. Still was the first canine to join the Metropolitan Police from another country and will now enjoy plenty of loving attention from her new family.

The National Police’s animal retirement program “Adopt a Hero” was launched in 2017, and although most families opt for dogs, horses can also spend the rest of their days on a farm. In 2020, with extended quarantines and coronavirus health restrictions, 15 dogs were placed in Bogotá homes and six equines sent to haciendas across the country. Since the start of the program, 274 dogs and 30 horses have been granted a dignified end to their lives.