Anuradha Doberman was looking forward to a peaceful retired life after years of putting her nose to the grindstone,literally.
That was not to be. Her retirement papers,caught up in bureaucratic delays,were awaiting the signature of the senior officers of the Crime Branch when she breathed her last on April 7.
A decorated female dog of the Delhi Police Dog Squad,Anuradha died of old age,15 days before she was to be sent to an animal house after her retirement from the force.
In the first week of March,a doctor from the Tiz Hazari Veterinary Hospital had deemed her unfit and weak due to old age to perform her daily duties. The dog squad officers requested that she be respectfully retired from Delhi Police Dog Squad.
The Delhi Police was processing her papers to formally retire her and send her to Friendicoes-Seca in Jangpura.
But on April 7,her handler opened the kennel to find that she had died peacefully in her sleep.
Anuradha,a Doberman,lovingly referred to as Anu,had been attached to the Crime Branch since 2002. She was known to be one of the best tracking dogs in the unit till old age caught up with her.
Anuradha,who turned 11 this year,had lost much of her tracking skills and often slept throughout the day,prompting the veterinarian to advise that she be retired.
According to the rules,any dog attached with the Delhi Police can be formally retired only with the consent of senior officers.
Following the veterinary evaluation,police began coordinating with the animal house in Jangpura to finalise her post-retirement stay.
On March 28,they received a letter from the animal house saying it was willing to take in Anuradha.
On April 22,her papers reached the office of a senior police officer for his final approval and to strike off her name from the squad. But it was two weeks too late for Anuradha.
Anuradha,during her ten-year service,earned many laurels for the Delhi Police.
She was trained by the BSF at the National Training Centre for dogs in Gwalior. Known to be a swift tracker,she had assisted the police in several murder cases.
Although police do not keep any records of the cases detected by dogs,a double murder in Dabri in 2003 was one of many for which the police force would be indebted to her. Officers recall how it took Anuradha just a few minutes to track the scent of the murderers.
The officers were surprised when she guided them straight to the house of a blacksmith,who was later booked for the murders.
In 2011,Anuradha was ranked third among the best dogs from all state forces in India,including the paramilitary ones.
In 2008,in a competition held by the Haryana Police,she was judged the second most talented dog in the country. She now rests in peace in a secluded field behind the Dog Squad office in Model Town.
The Delhi Police has a total of 60 dogs,some of which have been given to other units and districts. Two dogs,Jenny and Rani,are of the same age as Anuradha was when she died but officers say their tracking skills are still sharp. All dogs in the squad are specialised in three areas explosives,tracking and narcotics.