Feering: Our police dogs grant one of Samuel’s wishes
Main article content
Brave young Samuel Bethell had one of his wishes come true when he visited our Dog Section with his family and watched our police dogs training with their handlers.
Samuel, seven, had undergone three open heart surgeries by the time he was four and his mum Victoria Gibson says doctors have told the family the likelihood of him reaching his 10th birthday is slim.
“We sat down and told him and he just took it in his stride. I said ‘Life is short and you have to do as much as you can’ and then asked him what he wanted to do. “We started to make a list, called it his Wish List and started fundraising for it. One of them was to meet every animal on the planet but he’s got quite a lot of other wishes, too!” Victoria Gibson
One of Samuel’s friends is the son of one of our officers and when she heard of his wish to meet animals, she arranged for him to visit our Dog Section in Sandon.
And on Sunday, Samuel went along with his mum, his dad Rick and sisters Daisy, 11, and Betsy, six, to meet some of our police dogs and see them training.
After first having a tour of a police car - sitting in it, touching the buttons and switching the lights on - it was time to meet a couple of our new police puppies and then watch PC Ross Ashcroft & Police Dog Armour, Sgt Jamie Edwards & Police Dog Diesel and PC Mark Rickwood & Police Dog Hugo run through some training exercises.
“The kids absolutely loved it. They were shown around the cars and then met the dogs and watched them training and searching a house. “Samuel was absolutely amazed. He was shocked by how big the Alsatians are and remarked on their pointy teeth. He said to me ‘I’m going to be a really good boy, Mummy, so they don’t have to come for me’. “We also watched two of the puppies who are brothers running around the field and Samuel said it was just like him and Betsy playing. “We had a really good time, thanks to the dogs and their handlers.” Victoria Gibson
“It was lovely to meet the family and help Samuel achieve one of his wishes of meeting as many animals as possible. I think the highlight of the visit for Samuel was getting to meet and walk Trainee Police Dog Aldo and Trainee Police Dog Dakota, two energetic Labradors. They even played hide and seek with Police Dog Diesel.” Dog Section Sergeant Paul Screech
Victoria was 22 weeks pregnant when she was told Samuel had four life-threatening heard conditions and, initially, doctors told her he might not survive birth and, if he did, he might only live for 20 minutes.
However, Samuel proved he was a fighter and had his first open-heart surgery at just six days old, with another two operations by the time he was four.
“He’s been through a hell of a lot already but you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with him. “He’s just a normal, bubbly seven-year-old boy who wants to play with his friends all the time. We have to tell him to stop because we know before he does that he’s getting tired. “He’s like a bagful of beans – he just won’t stop. It’s why he got on with the police dogs so well. He and Betsy tried to chase them but, of course, the dogs were faster than they were.” Victoria Gibson
As well as raising money to pay for Samuel’s Last Crusade so the family, who live in Feering, can help Samuel realise as many of his wishes as possible, Victoria, Rick and Samuel’s nan Sue are planning to join a charity Walkie Talkie Tower Climb to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, which has done so much for Samuel.
Keep updated: Like, Follow, Share
To keep updated about the work our officers and staff do, day in and day out across Essex, to help people, keep you safe and catch criminals, Like, Follow and Share our posts on social media and sign up to receive our weekly newsletter.