Dog Who Was ‘Too Friendly’ for Police Academy Steals Hearts During Taiwan Earthquake Rescue Efforts

The failed drug-sniffing pup, Roger, recovered the body of the tremor’s 13th victim

<p>Chen Chi-Mai/Facebook</p> Roger, a search and rescue pup

Chen Chi-Mai/Facebook

Roger, a search and rescue pup

A Labrador retriever in Taiwan flunked out of police academy for being too playful. Now, he aids with search and rescue efforts — including those that followed the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the country last week.

The 8-year-old pup named Roger was originally trained to be a drug-sniffing dog at the Customs Administration's Detector Dog Breeding & Training Center in the city of Taichung, according to Taiwan’s official Central News Agency (CNA).

But he flunked out for being “too friendly and boisterous,” his handler, Lee Hsin Hung, told the New York Times.

So, the canine joined a search and rescue team at the Kaohsiung Fire Bureau. Today, he’s a ranking officer.

<p>CNA/AFP via Getty Images</p> Roger during search and rescue efforts on April 5

CNA/AFP via Getty Images

Roger during search and rescue efforts on April 5

His first rescue mission came in 2018 after a magnitude-6 earthquake, search and rescue team leader Chen Chih-san told CNA. It soon became clear that Roger’s playful nature made him the perfect pup for the job.

Since then, Roger has helped out on seven missions. The most recent came after the earthquake struck the east coast of Taiwan on April 3.

Following the 7.4-magnitude tremor — the largest quake the country has experienced in 25 years — the pup helped locate the body of the earthquake’s 13th victim, a 21-year-old woman buried in rubble in Taroko National Park, the New York Times reported.

Following his gallant efforts at the park, the pup stole hearts with his behavior in recent news coverage, from trying to gnaw on a reporter’s microphone to tearing apart a stuffed toy while on camera, per the newspaper.

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<p>LAURENT FIEVET/Hualien County Fire Department /AFP via Getty Images</p> Roger during search and rescue efforts on April 5

LAURENT FIEVET/Hualien County Fire Department /AFP via Getty Images

Roger during search and rescue efforts on April 5

Related: Nurses Desperately Cling to Infants in Nursery Ward During Taiwan Earthquake, Video Shows

Along with fellow search and rescue pups, Roger’s hard work was rewarded with toys and snacks, according to ABC Australia.

The pup was “still full of energy” after the mission, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-Mai said, per ABC Australia. At least, enough energy to enjoy his rewards.

"After receiving the ice cream toy, he didn't mind messing up his appearance while enthusiastically chewing on it,” the mayor said, adding that the canine bright “smiles to everyone despite their exhaustion."

Though still as playful as a puppy, Roger is getting old. His heart-stealing behavior this past week marked a bittersweet end to his career as a search and rescue dog.

He will soon turn 9 — the age at which the Kaohsiung Fire Bureau says he must retire.

However, as Chih-san assured CNA, the soon-to-be-retired pup will be adopted into a good home.

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