A COURAGEOUS police dog who protected his handler from a man wielding a Samurai sword is to retire because of ill health.
Thor, a six-year-old German Shepherd, had lived and worked alongside his handler, PC Martin Gayles, of North Yorkshire Police’s Dog Section, since 2014.
In his four years of service, he has sniffed out suspects, located property and found missing people.
In 2015, he protected his handler when he was threatened by a man with a Samurai sword.
PC Gayles said: "I deployed Thor from my vehicle and the man immediately dropped the sword in fear of what Thor would do."
That year, Thor also caught a masked intruder who was ransacking a York hotel.
And earlier this year, he stood guard over PC Gayles when he broke his leg in a 15ft fall during a chase.
Thor had a knee replacement in 2017 after a ligament tear.
Before retiring, Thor spent one last night at PC Gayles' family home.
He will now live as a pet with a new family in Bradford, making way for PC Gayles' new sidekick, Buzz, a five-year-old Belgian Malinois.
PC Gayles said: "It has been an absolute honour and privilege to work with Thor. He was the first dog I was paired up with when I joined the Dog Section and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.
“When I found out he was to be retired I was absolutely distraught.
“Not only has he been amazing at his job he has been a loyal and much-loved part of our family.
“The things I’ll miss most about him are kisses and cuddles.
“Whilst I’m gutted to see him retire I’m happy that he will be able to relax and enjoy his retirement with his new family.
“I’m also excited to see what the future brings with my new dog Buzz.”