[Image: PC Sam Lockyear and Darren Thornton]
A Mounted Branch officer on her last ever shift before retirement received a box of chocolates and a Christmas card from a homeless man after assisting his injured dog.
PC Lou Richards, alongside colleagues PC Claire Twig and PC Holly Hine, were on patrol in West Hampstead on Saturday, 19 December when they came across Rocco, a Rottweiler belonging to Darren Thornton.
Two-and-a-half-year-old Rocco had been run over after pulling free of his tether and was suffering from an injury to his hind leg.
The officers managed to track down a vet from the Mill Lane Veterinary Surgery who came out, and after hearing that Darren was homeless, treated Rocco free of charge. The woman driving the car offered to pay for ongoing veterinary treatment even though she was not at fault with the accident.
Three days later, a box of chocolates and a Christmas card addressed to the ‘Three Angels’ arrived at the police horses’ stables in West Hampstead. The gift was from Darren, thanking the officers for their help following the incident.
It was PC Richards’s last day with the Met before retirement and the sentiment and poignancy of the gesture from this man touched her so much, she said: '"This means more to me than anything else I've done in my career."
PC Cath I’Anson, of the Met’s Mounted Branch, said: "Darren used to be a dog walker and walked Rocco on behalf of an elderly lady, until she moved into a care home and Darren became Rocco’s owner. Since then the two of them have been inseparable and it has meant a lot to Darren that our officers were able to ensure Rocco received the care he needed.
“Life is pretty tough for Darren at the moment and it is really heart-warming to see local officers and residents coming together to help out."