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From failed police officer to tiny hero: Meet Roger, Taiwan's fave pup

Like any dog, he loves a good sniff and he's all about that humanitarian hustle, sniffing out ways to lend a paw to those in need.
From failed police officer to tiny hero: Meet Roger, Taiwan's fave pup
Posted at 7:24 PM, Apr 11, 2024

Despite flunking his police drug-sniffing duties, this pup still managed to become a hero by sniffing out the last victim trapped after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in Taiwan last week.

Meet Roger, the 8-year-old Labrador retriever who, like any dog, loves a good sniff. As a puppy, he was trained by the Customs Administration's Detector Dog Breeding & Training Center in Taichung to sniff out drugs for customs, according to Taiwan’s official Central News Agency. But he completely failed that mission due to being too much of a social butterfly, so he was scouted by the Kaohsiung Fire Bureau team to help them instead. 

“He was very agile, his movements were very bold, and he didn’t let anything fence him in,” his handler Lee Hsin Hung told The New York Times.  “He thought he could overcome any difficulties.” 

Earlier this month, Taiwan was rocked by a powerful earthquake, claiming 13 lives and leaving hundreds stranded and mass destruction. That's when four dogs, including Roger, were called to help.

While Roger was trained to find survivors, he caught a whiff of something interesting during the search. He passed it at first, but then doubled back, showing he found something important, his handler told the Times. Unfortunately, it was not a survivor this time, it was the body of the 13th victim of the earthquake, a 21-year-old woman in the rubble. 

Roger has been working since the tender age of 1. His first rescue mission was in 2018  following a 6.0-magnitude earthquake, and since then, he has worked in seven rescue missions, and passed the International Search and Rescue Dog Organization's advanced rubble search certification with flying colors. But his career may soon come to an end, according to CNA, as by law, he must retire at the age of 9. 

But this pup's playful spirit and unwavering determination will always be working in our hearts.

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