Wookie revels in his new PR role

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Wookie, a purebred German shepherd who once had a police dog career in his sights, has missed the cut.
At 3 months old, Wookie featured in The Courier, after accompanying his handler to Lake Tekapo where he took part in a range of exercises.
Now, at 15 months old, Wookie, who has been based in Christchurch, is living life as a beloved pet on a 14ha Canterbury property, after failing to meet the attributes required of the nation’s crimebusting canines.
Sergeant Tim Yates said environmental issues were Wookie’s main fallback, including his dislike of shiny floors.
‘‘He showed signs of that at 7 months old. Sometimes they will grow out of it,’’ he said.
As the environmental issues progressed, Mr Yates cared for Wookie as a pet, while monitoring his behaviour to see if he showed signs of growing out of his fears and reactions.
‘‘A few other nerve issues started to show. People would come on the property and [Wookie] would bark and run away.’’
When Mr Yates realised Wookie was not going to make it as a police dog, he considered him for a life with Search and Rescue instead. But that, too, did not work out.
‘‘We tried our best, but it just didn’t pan out.’’
However, Wookie has his attributes, and has mastered the role of being a great ‘‘PR machine’’ thanks to his cute factor.
‘‘Last month, he did lots of school visits and public relations,’’ Mr Yates said, last week.
Among the events he attended was a Westpac rescue helicopter open day, for which he proved ‘‘great’’, thanks to his appearance and good temperament.
Wookie’s mother, Casha, was imported to New Zealand from Holland while pregnant with her litter of seven, three males and four females. They were born on April 10, last year.
Wookie, named after the Star Wars character, was the only one of the litter to have the long-haired gene, a possible throwback to one of his parents.