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Vale PD Maygar

“It will be the size of a Lion when I bore down on my enemies”, unnamed Spartan soldier.

Born in March 2016, PD Maygar was the last born and the “runt” of his litter, probably explaining why he was such a natural fighter. Maygar was aptly named after Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Maygar VC. Leslie Maygar was awarded the VC after he stopped, during a cavalry withdrawal, to collect a wounded comrade who he placed onto his horse walking back to safety amidst a storm of bullets (trove.nla.gov.au).

From day one Maygar stood out as a quirky but pugnacious dog. My daughter's favourite. They nicknamed him Spartan as they thought of him as a warrior due to the fact he had to fight so hard for everything. During the first eight weeks of his life he was rarely doing normal things normally. He would awkwardly fight hard for a feed from mum as his brothers and sisters would bully him away. He was often alone doing his own thing, awkwardly investigating the world. I found this behaviour strange and didn’t really know what to make of it. He was the first to walk away from the whelping area indicating boldness, however he seemed aloof, distant, strange. He had an awkward demeanour about him. Stumbling into things and acting surprised often.

During this phase of his life Maygar was always up for a cuddle. His litter mates often picked on him because he was so much smaller than them. He fought hard, however often these were losing battles. The girls would often save Maygar mid fight, swooping him up in their arms as they glared at the bullies. Maygar would also typically run barking at new things that spooked him. If you surprised him, he would try and scare you away. He often made me laugh and scratch my head at the same time. Was he weak or strong? I guess I should have listened to my daughters who loved him and regularly spoilt him with trips inside and cuddles (I allowed this against my regular rules for working dog prospects as I thought he was a bit soft and may only be suited to detection training). The girls knew better, they knew he was a Spartan.

Maygar was sold to the Army. He went to his foster home with initial plans being that he would be trained for a scouting role due to his small size and quirky nature. However, Maygar was having none of that as he continually displayed a fighting spirit that indicated he was destined for much more. The Army recognised this, and his training moved in a different direction. Maygar was going to be a war dog. The girls were right! He started to grow….

The life of a working dog and their ability to fit into a Police or Military organisation is complex. There are thousands of variables and out of 100 very good dogs only 1 or 2 may ever be suitable for the work. Even less are successfully integrated. Environmental complexities, personalities, technical proficiency on the part of handlers and trainers all play a major role. As does the nerves, fighting spirit, and genetic traits of the dog. Unfortunately, after 14 months of training it was evident that Maygar wasn’t suited to his role in the Army and they graciously donated him to the Western Australian Police Force.

Notably, Lieutenant Colonel Maygar VC was initially refused enlistment due to having poor teeth. He went on to be awarded the VC and serve in three wars. In this vein, Maygar went on to flourish in the policing environment! And he kept growing….

Somewhere along the lines Maygar changed. Not really his character, he was always a fighter, but his size. What started off as a runt grew into a beast. An abnormally large, and extremely strong yet athletic Malinois. His litter mates, once bullying him away from food, would now be looking up at him.

Maygar was welcomed into the Western Australian Police Force with open arms. He was a pioneer of sorts as the WA Police had previously not utilised many Belgian Malinois. His balanced nature was not fully understood as this was not the norm at the time. I could sense some were dubious, as I had once been of Maygar’s fighting spirit and ability to be a police dog. Surely he’s too friendly….Maygar quickly won everyone over displaying his strong fighting spirit during apprehension training.

Partly due to his balanced nature, partly due to his extreme play drive, Maygar was selected to run a trial as a Dual-Purpose Police Dog. He was a natural. The detection trainers were new to this type of dog. Due to his apprehension abilities they were understandably apprehensive. However, the balanced and friendly nature of Maygar quickly put them at ease. His drive for play almost as strong as his drive for biting. He excelled at detection training.

PD Maygar was the first Dual Purpose Police Dog in the Western Australian Police Force. His unique trainability and balanced nature made him perfect for the role. The trial was a success, the concept proven. This was largely due to the trainability, balance and fighting spirit of Maygar. From runt to pioneer! Maygar excelled at both detection and apprehension training. He could track and search buildings and areas for both people and narcotics. PD Maygar graduated in 2017 as a Dual-Purpose Police Dog. He moved to the Pilbara with his handler Tom and his wife Jess.

"Maygar was Tom's best mate and a trailblazer in so many ways. He showed an amazing amount of courage at work and in trying to recover from his injury. He had the balance of being an incredible Police Dog and partner to Tom but also a loving member of our family. You will forever be a special part of our lives Maygar and we will miss you very much.”

Tom and Maygar made an immediate impression in the region. They immediately set about their task with the guile and determination that Leslie Maygar VC would have been proud of. Maygar was a natural Police Dog. He located narcotics, tracked and apprehended violent offenders. He had become a true warrior. A spartan.

Unfortunately, PD Maygar was injured earlier this year in an unavoidable training accident. True to his fighting spirit, PD Maygar fought hard to recover. However, it is with great sadness we report that this was a fight even Maygar couldn’t win. PD Maygar, the Spartan, was laid to rest on Friday, 23 August 2019.

Ben & Jase, K9 Solutions Australia