Doggy daycare at Athlone police

2016-10-25 11:52
One of Meire’s favourite people at the station is Warrant Officer Dewaal Besbier, who feeds and takes care of Meire whenever he can.

One of Meire’s favourite people at the station is Warrant Officer Dewaal Besbier, who feeds and takes care of Meire whenever he can. ( Earl Haupt)

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If you have ever found yourself walking the streets of the Athlone CBD, you would notice a little black and white dog trotting around.

Affectionately known as Meire, she has been a fixture of the Athlone police station for the last 15 years.

Warrant Officer Ashley Fritz recalls his first encounter with the dog he has fallen in love with.

“It was Guy Fawkes evening and she came running in here and ever since that day, this has been called home for her.

“Everyone here in the Athlone CBD knows her. In the morning she walks out here and she greets everyone in the CBD. All the people know her, even at the station in the mornings when the day shift guys come or the night shift guys come, she goes to the back and stands at the back. That is how we know her,” he says.

Meire is looked after and fed by Warrant Officer Dewaal Besbier, who also takes her to his own home on occasion.

She has had two litters while at the station, with the puppies being adopted by officers.

Meire is oblivious to this journalist’s presence upon arrival, but as soon as Besbier enters the area, she perks up and asks for his attention.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Zita Norman has always known of Meire’s presence outside her office and would not want it any other way.

“I would be busy, but if I know she is barking, then I know that there is someone. She would not allow anyone to come in if I did not open the door.

“My victim support volunteers all started caring for her. They would pay the butcher down the road for the week and Meire would go there. She would go into the butchery and they know that they must give her one vienna for the day and then she comes back to the police station,” says Norman.

She adds that Besbier takes good care of Meire and that he is her preferred provider.

“She only eats food from Warrant Officer Besbier and only out of his hands.

“He took her home for a few weekends. She prefers to be at the station. She gets uneasy at around Saturday afternoon, then she wants to be back here and she wants to be amongst us.

She is everybody at the station’s dog and all the officers have affection for her,” says Norman.

Meire is getting along in years and is due to undergo an operation for a lump found in her lower abdomen.

She has also done her fair share of police work, even playing a role in an arrest, which Fritz remembers fondly.

“One day a few years ago, I was sitting in the charge office and Meire came into the charge office barking, trying to show me something. She then stood at the door and I opened the door for her. She ran outside barking.

“She then took me around the corner, [to] the cells. So when I looked, I saw this suspect on top of the roof of the police station. I caught him and found two parcels of dagga in his possession and I arrested him because of Meire, so Meire was part of that arrest,” says Fritz.

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