He may look fluffy and friendly, but Savage, one of the Cape Town Metro Police Department's sniffer dogs, apparently has a nose good enough to find a stash hidden underground.
According to Metro Police chief Wayne le Roux, Savage the Sable German Shepherd and his handler, Constable Mosuli Faku, have found R160 000 worth of drugs and contributed to numerous arrests over the past six months.
Savage was awarded a service medal on Tuesday for his efforts. He is part of a unit of 25 dogs, 20 of whom are on active duty. They are able to sniff out drugs, explosives and even copper.
The other three are currently being trained, one is breeding, and another has been seconded to assist the law enforcement metal theft unit.
Faku and Savage have worked together for almost three years, sniffing out hidden "bankies", tik and mandrax, among other narcotics.
He has apparently also become something of an example to the rest of the dogs in the unit.
"His performance in the first six months of this year has been noteworthy indeed, and has ranged from sniffing out drugs hidden in trees and even underground," said Le Roux.
In the meantime, the unit as a whole has, between July 1 last year and June 30 this year, achieved numerous successes, which included 156 arrests; two vehicles recovered; five firearms recovered or confiscated, and abandoned drugs and ammunition found.
"Over the years, drug dealers have become increasingly creative in hiding their wares, but our dogs are up to the task," said Le Roux.
"We are very proud of the work done by our K9 unit, both during enforcement and also through their education and awareness outreach programmes."