Being a police dog is definitely an honorable job, but it requires a lot of training and dedication. To be a part of paw enforcement, puppies have to pass the police dog academy and be trained to tackle hardened criminals.
In 2016, Gavel, then a six-week-old German Shepherd puppy, was one of the 40 police puppies in training in the Australian state of Queensland.
Coming from a “long line of pedigree dogs related to working police dogs,”  Gavel had a bright future. Everyone was certain that he would be catching criminals as a proud member of the Queensland Dog Squad in no time.
However, things didn’t go as everyone had expected. It turned out that Gavel actually had an affinity for pats rather than patrols.
Unfortunately, Gavel flunked the police academy, but he landed an even better job that let him be himself and enjoy life to the fullest.
From Police Dog Drop-Out To Vice-Regal Dog
In April 2016, Gavel came to the Government House in Queensland as an aspiring police dog. He was meant to be there for 12 months, preparing to become a member of the elite Queensland Police Service Dog Squad.
Gavel received basic obedience training and was presented with a formal uniform bearing the insignia of the Queensland Police Service.
But something wasn’t quite right.
It turned out that Gavel preferred pats over patrols, and he loved treats.
After a year at the Government House, the report card from police handlers came back, stating that Gavel “did not display the necessary aptitude for a life on the front line.”
But Gavel had become a much-loved part of the Government House family, and luckily, the Governor decided to adopt the puppy and assign him a brand-new job.
In February 2017, an official position was created, and Gavel was appointed as Queensland’s first Vice-Regal Dog.
He even “pawed” his own contract! How adorable!
Gavel’s duties were to support the Governor, the Honorable Paul de Jersey, and fulfill important constitutional, ceremonial, and community duties: greeting guests, leading tours, attending formal ceremonies, and above all, being unutterably cute.
During special occasions, Gavel proudly sports his custom-made ceremonial coat featuring the state emblems of Queensland.
As a matter of fact, as Queensland’s official Vice-Regal Dog, Gavel outgrew four ceremonial coats. The earlier versions also featured the insignia of the Queensland Police Service.
This cute boy has not only won the hearts of everyone at the Government House but has proven that there are many pathways to success.
It’s a lesson for us all because sometimes you indeed must fail in order to succeed.
Gavel continued to live his best life at one of Brisbane’s most prestigious addresses, proudly wearing the symbols of the state he serves.
Gavel was not just the State’s first viceregal dog but also the main star of the illustrated children’s book, which follows his journey of finding his place in the world and his ultimate purpose.
In late October 2021, the official Instagram account of the Governor of Queensland announced that after 40 (canine) years of service, Gavel, the German Shepherd, had officially hung up his coat and retired from service.
During his service, he enjoyed lots of love, not only from His Excellency and Mrs. de Jersey but also from his handler and companion, who will continue to look after him in retirement.
Gavel won the hearts of everyone he met, and although he didn’t become a police dog as was expected, he has fulfilled his viceregal duties with aplomb.
He has done an admirable job of welcoming visitors and putting them at ease. If you’re wondering if Gavel is still living at the Government House estate in Brisbane, I’m happy to say that yes, he is.
He enjoys a well-deserved rest filled with lots of love, treats, and pats that he oh so loves.
At the end, enjoy some of Gavel’s favorite moments while working at the Government House:
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