Dundee’s first police dog handler has celebrated his 90th birthday by returning to his old stomping ground to see the current crop of crime fighting pooches in action.
David Goldie took up the job in the city back in 1961 after seeing an interview with police chief John Orr in the Evening Telegraph advertising for dog handlers in the force.
And on Sunday, David visited the police dog base at Baluniefield Police Station with his family to mark his 90th birthday – as well as 60 years since the dog unit was first introduced in the city.
He was treated to a demonstration of the dogs’ skills and day-to-day work, including an agility course, tracking and chasing.
Speaking at Baluniefield Police Station, David said: “We started with our first police dogs on December 5 1961, and this is now the 60th anniversary.
“I was on the beat up Ancrum Road when I saw a part in the Evening Telegraph about the new dog unit from Chief Constable John Orr.
“I applied right away for the post and then I was told to go to the headquarters to see the superintendent.
“He said ‘Goldie, can you keep a police dog on £1 a week?’, I said yes, and he said ‘you’re a dog handler’.
“It was me and a guy called Charlie Philips who started it, and I was on the dog section for 14 years.
“I had a golden Labrador of my own and I always thought I would have liked to have done something with a working dog.
“Eighteen people applied for it, and Charlie and I were the lucky ones.
“I remember the day we were taken to Bridge of Earn in a blinding snowstorm with the detective inspector to get the dogs.
“My first was called Danny after Inspector Danny McKenzie because he was a supporter, and the other dog was called Jock after Chief Constable John Orr.”
David and his dogs were often working the beat in Dundee and became involved in a number of low-level crimes happening in and around the city centre.
“It was the best part of the service, I loved it,” he said.
“One one occasion there was an escaped prisoner from the sheriff court who had been sentenced for housebreaking.
“I was down at Bell Street Police Station and had the dog in the back of the car when an officer ran in to say there was a prisoner escaped.
“I got a description of the chap and hunted him down.
“I saw him running across Reform Street and I cautioned him and then let the dog loose.
“The sweetie factory was coming out at lunchtime and the dog went in among them all but when they cleared, the dog was circling the prisoner – that was great.”
“There was another time when I was tracking someone who had broken into a shop to steal vodka.
“The newspapers said ‘Police dog on the vodka trail’.”
Mr Goldie said his grandson Gary had kept the trip to see the police dogs at Baluniefield a secret until the day of his birthday.
He added: “Every time I pass Baluniefield in the car I look to see if I can see the dogs, but this is the first time I have seen them up close since I left the police.
“My grandson Gary picked me up and when I asked what for, he said ‘you will find out later’.
“It was a great surprise because this was the work I enjoyed the most, I would have loved to have carried it on.
“I was so surprised to come down here today – when my grandson said he had arranged something to do, I had thought of everything but this.
“It was so good to see this today.
“It was like the old days watching the dogs enjoying themselves.
“We used to do this kind of thing every afternoon at Barry Buddon Camp or at the air strip, we went to a different place each day to do tracking, searching and chasing.
“We had one dog for everything, we did recovering stolen property, tracking and chasing, but nowadays the dogs are more specialised.
“We were very elementary and the dog section has really blossomed.”
After leaving the police 37 years ago, David went on to become a security manager at Willie Low’s.