One of the best flairs in France exercises in the Basque Country. For contributing to seizure of around 6.7 tons of drugs and 2.4 million euros in banknotes from trade and smuggling, Irish, a ten-and-a-half-year-old black labrador, received the “Dog Hero” trophy on May 24 in Paris with his master, customs officer Fabrice Latapie.
“He always wants, he always asksexplains the customs dog handler, at ten and a half he still is motivated as if he were six months old“.
The Labrador is also “the family dog“, specifies Fabrice Latapie, proud to show the photos and videos from the ceremony.”I was very proud and very honored at the award ceremony. I received the medal in 2014, but it was only thanks to the work my dogs had done before! I found that usually to present Irish so he can be medalist in turn.“This trophy is even a reward for the entire brigade:”it is a reward for the dog and for the whole team“.
An ace of “marking”
A record that is all the more impressive since Irish first trained drug detection
only received his banknote detection training in 2017. Once the vehicles (trucks, buses, cars…) have been stopped at the Biriatou customs point, Irish’s task is to “sniff where he knows how to sniff : the underside of buses and the interior of buses, as for cars, trucks, containers… tickets. Then it is up to us to intervene“, continues the dog handler.
The last example goes back three weeks ago during a search :”he marked on one of the drawers in the kitchen. In the middle of the pasta and flour was a pocket with several envelopes containing €61,700“.
A serious injury in 2019
Irish was awarded the Dog Hero award first for his effectiveness, but also “for his endurance“, assesses Fabrice Lapatie. In 2019 his career almost came to an abrupt end After one”huge disc herniation in the left rear. His back leg was paralyzed, he couldn’t move it anymore..” The dog could not be operated on, so he had to go through osteopathy or physiotherapy.
Fabrice and his dog Irish win the Hero Dogs Trophy: a look back at their story
Proof of the connection between Fabrice and Irish, the driver himself has “took a month’s vacation” at the time to attend to the recovery of his dog.
After nine years of good and loyal service, Irish will be able to retire and “Stay at home” at Fabrice Lapatie within six months. The next generation is already ready with Txupitan eight-and-a-half-month-old black labrador, who begins his training at the beginning of October before taking over the Hendaye brigade in December.