A small group met on 10 January at Derbyshire Police force headquarters in Ripley, to remember the life of retired PD Axle.
Chaplain Steve Hinsley, PC Dean Allen, Axle’s owners in retirement Karen and David, and Sgt Lee Parkin with PD Nova met for a short ceremony in the Old Hall. After a few words of reflection, the group made its way out in the rain to the memorial garden, where Axle’s stone was unveiled.
Axle is probably best known as the Derbyshire dog stabbed in the line of duty – but that brush with fame was only a very small part of his service.
He arrived from his native Germany in 2012 and completed his initial training with handler PC Allen. They quickly overcame their language barrier, and the duo formed a formidable team. Over the years, they tracked and caught countless criminals.
Our police dogs often put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect the public and their human colleagues and do this with unwavering loyalty and commitment.
Axle hit the headlines in 2018 after being stabbed several times by a fleeing criminal. The injured pup required life-saving surgery but eventually recovered and returned to full time duty.
When Axle retired in 2019, handler Dean commented “It always surprises me that even with him in full voice, people still make the decision to try and run away. Even on his last set of nights he still had the measure of a couple of fleeing burglars – not bad for an old lad of eight-and-a-half.”
Axle had a happy retirement, living in Erewash with retired PCSO Karen and her husband David, until he passed away in September after a short illness.
Their memories of Axle are of “our big soft lad who we loved dearly. He came to us a well-trained workaholic and to be honest he never changed in that respect, always alert. He was such an intelligent dog and so loyal.”
Karen and David eventually weaned him off being a kennel dog and Axle had his own room, complete with a leather armchair. Karen continues: “We were so lucky to have cared for him in his retirement and we thank Dean for his trust and support in caring for him. We miss Axle dearly and always will.”
Axle’s stone rests alongside those of his former police dog colleagues, and we are sure he will live long in the memory of those who knew and loved him.