6 Remarkable Police Animals

We’ve seen bookstore cats, animals trained to sniff out bombs and heroic dogs, but now we're here to focus on animals who have served, or are currently serving, their local police departments.

1. Momo, Nara Police Department, Japan

We’re used to seeing large police dogs because, let’s face it, a lap dog can’t take down a running fugitive. But there are a lot of other duties for police dogs out there—and a pup doesn't have to be big to sniff out bombs, drugs, or people buried under rubble. So why not have some small dogs work in these specialized areas?

The Japanese made news last year when they hired a tiny little Chihuahua as the Nara Police Department's newest police dog. Momo passed her search and rescue test with flying colors by finding a person within five minutes after smelling their hat. While the little pup might not be able to drag anyone from the rubble, officers do point out that her size provides her with a major advantage when it comes to squeezing into small openings that would be too narrow for most rescue dogs. Of course, in between earthquakes and fires, she’s still doing good community service by looking absolutely adorable.

2. Mattie, Connecticut State Police, United States

When it comes to arson investigations, dogs are better at sniffing out accelerants than most of the investigator’s instruments. But the idea of using dogs for that task is still pretty new; the first dog, a black lab named Mattie, was put to work in 1986. In order to graduate from Accelerant Detection Canine School, which is run by the ATF, she had to be able to identify 17 different types of accelerants in a fire’s aftermath, even when there were only a few drops of the compounds. (Dogs and their handlers can only pass if they have a perfect score in the final test.)

Mattie was placed in service with the Connecticut State Police that same year. While waiting for fires to be put out, she would be brought out to the scene, where she would sniff at any onlookers. In many cases, Mattie was able to identify suspects in the crowd who still had residue from the accelerants on them. Mattie worked with the state police for 11 years before retiring in 1997.

3. Lemon, Kyoto Police Department, Japan

If you think a Chihuahua is a bad police dog, then just imagine having a police cat. To be fair, Officer Lemon operates in a small town in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan, which has a population made up of mostly elderly folks, and his only cases involve suspicious phone calls. Lemon doesn't help track down the prank callers, but he does help relax the victims—an important job for police handling these kinds of situations.

Lemon has been with the police since he was two weeks old. Of course, that’s probably why he’s so comfortable in his adorable little uniform; most cats that grew up without clothing probably wouldn’t be so willing to wear the tiny jacket and hat that Lemon sports while on duty.

4. Santisuk, Saiburi Police Department, Thailand

This officer might monkey around a bit, but you’d still better take him seriously—no matter how cute he looks in his little police shirt. Santisuk, a pig-tailed macaque, was adopted by a police officer after he was found with a broken arm. They soon started training him to pick up coconuts and then they realized that he might just help alleviate tensions at police checkpoints.

Their plan worked. When Santisuk stands duty at the checkpoints, motorists happily stop their vehicles and many even pull over to take their picture with the monkey. He has changed the public image of the police force so much that many other police precincts in the area are considering adding their own monkeys to the force.

5 & 6. Echo, Metropolitan Police Department, and Sefton, Household Cavalry, United Kingdom

Echo and Sefton are probably the best remembered police horses, and it’s for a rather sad reason.

The horses were survivors of the July 20, 1982 bombing of Hyde Park. A car bomb—made from 25 pounds of explosives surrounded in 4- and 6-inch nails—killed four soldiers and seven other horses. Echo, part of the Metropolitan Police Department, was left was a piece of shrapnel in his side. Household Cavalry horse Sefton had 38 shrapnel wounds, and his jugular vein was severed. Another Cavalry horse, Yeti, also survived the blast. After the incident, Echo, too nervous to go back to the police department, was retired from duty. Sefton did go back to work for a bit, but eventually, all three horses were retired at the same stable, where they would live for the rest of their lives. When the horses made public appearances, people were touched—Echo and Sefton even received a standing ovation when they appeared at the Horse of the Year show.

Goodbye Fido, Hello Finn: The Most Popular Dog Names of 2017

What’s in a name? If you’re a dog, a clue into your pet parents’ favorite movies, television shows, and musicians, apparently., the country’s largest online network of dog walkers and pet sitters, has just revealed the most popular dog names of the year. While the majority of those names follow (human) baby-naming trends—11 of the top 20 names are also among the top 100 baby names—pop culture also plays a big part in the moniker pet parents bestow upon their four-legged furballs. How else would one explain the increasing popularity of names like Barb and Eleven, or Khaleesi, Arya, and Sansa?

There was an uptick in ‘90s nostalgia this year, too; Nirvana saw a 171 percent increase in popularity while Daria grew by 104 percent. Star Wars-inspired names have been a thing for 40 years now, but saw a 70 percent increase in 2017, with Finn being the most popular name from a galaxy far, far away.

So just how unique is your dog’s handle? Well, if his or her name is Max or Bella, not very. Read on to find out more, or visit to discover the 100 most popular pooch names of 2017.

Smart Shopping
11 Brilliant Gifts for Your Dog

Don’t limit your shopping list to your human loved ones this holiday season. Here are some gifts that will keep your dog feeling clean, comfortable, and entertained into the new year.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. BLUE VELVET COAT; $44-$49

Blue velvet pet coat.
Up Country

Winter is a prime fashion opportunity for pets. This velveteen coat will keep your dog toasty outdoors, while also allowing them to look stylish. The interior is lined with silk and the collar is trimmed with faux fur to provide luxurious comfort. Whether you’re dressing a chihuahua or a German shepherd, the coat comes in whatever size you need.

Find It: Up Country


Dog treats shaped like leaves.

Dogs enjoy seasonal treats just as much as the rest of us. Each of these gourmet dog biscuits is shaped into a colorful maple leaf with a white paw print stamped on the front. The ingredients, which include whole wheat flour, honey, oats, and carob icing, are just as wholesome as what you’d find in human health food.

Find It: Woofables


Dog shampoo.

Make bath time a more pleasant experience for both you and your dog with a 16-ounce bottle of this hydrating shampoo. Blended with natural botanicals and amino acids, it washes away dirt without making skin feel dry or irritated. It leaves your dog’s fur looking as soft and shiny as a trip to the groomers would.

Find It: Amazon


Patch of grass in a cardboard box.

House training a pet is hard—as is taking them out to pee in the middle of a snow storm. If your dog needs to relieve themselves inside, the Fresh Patch is your best option. The disposable cardboard container is filled with real hydroponically-grown grass, allowing your dog to pee indoors without associating the act with your floor or carpet. It's a great alternative for puppies who aren’t housebroken or owners who aren’t able to keep up with their pet’s pee schedule.

Find It: Amazon


Dog wearing an illuminated collar.
Nite Ize

A safe pet is a happy pet. Strap these flexible, LED strips onto your dog’s regular collar before taking them for a walk or letting them outside at night. The glowing red light around their neck lets you keep an eye on them in case they stray too far.

Find It: Nite Ize


Bag for dog treats.
Rad Dog

With this bag, you’ll have no excuse not to take your pet on vacation with you next year. The lightweight Cordura and nylon container consists of one main compartment for storing dry dog food and a smaller one for holding your dog’s accessories. Take up to 6 pounds of kibble with you on your next getaway.

Find It: Rad Dog


Geometric dog toy.

Dogs can get a lot of use out of a good puzzle. This geometric toy comes in two colors, gray and pink, and can hold up to 1 cup of dog treats. As your pet kicks, nudges, and chews the object in an effort to access the food inside, you can finally take the opportunity to sit back and relax.

Find It: Amazon


Hand holding folded dog bowl.
Rad Dog

When taking your dog for a jog or hike, every ounce you carry can slow you down. Keep your load as light as possible with this collapsible dog bowl. The waterproof nylon container weighs less than an ounce and folds down to the size of a camera battery. Whenever you want to give your dog food or water on the go, the pocket bowl makes it easy.

Find It: Rad Dog


Dry shampoo for dogs.

If there’s one thing dogs hate about grooming, it’s getting into the bathtub. With this dry shampoo you can get your pet clean without getting them wet. The lemon drop-scented formula refreshes your dog’s fur while eliminating nasty odors and adding a boost of moisture.

Find It: PetSmart


Bucket of dog balls.

It’s hard to beat the classics, so why not add another ball to your dog’s collection this holiday? These red tennis-style balls come emblazoned with the crest of Harry Barker, a brand known for its luxury pet products.

Find It: Amazon


Life vest for dogs.

Every dog deserves to have fun in the water no matter the level of their swimming skills. Bring your dog to a lake, pool, or beach, strap them into this buoyant foam life vest, and watch them doggy-paddle to their heart’s content. The float coat comes in three colors, blue, red, and yellow, and sizes to fit extra-small to extra-large dogs.

Find It: Amazon


More from mental floss studios