A police officer and dog who were both stabbed in a horrifying attack have visited a primary school children after they wrote to him with touching letters of support.
Year six pupils at St Bartholomew’s School in Great Harwood studied the case of PC Dave Wardell and his police dog Finn for a class project looking at his campaign to give service animals legal protection under law.
Currently service dogs such as German Shepherd Finn are regarded as ‘property’, so his attacker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was only prosecuted for criminal damage after stabbing Finn through the chest and head, and actual bodily harm for stabbing PC Wardell in the hand in Stevenage in October 2016.
The pupils were ‘thrilled’ when their teacher Helen Lawton got in touch with PC Wardell with their work around ‘Finn’s Law’, and he travelled four hours to meet them on Friday, January 12, in his first ever school visit.
Mrs Lawton, who has taught at the school on Ash Street for four years, said that PC Wardell said he wanted to give a ‘happy ending’ to the pupils.
She said: “The day was phenomenal, it was unbelievable. The kids faces just lit up when they saw him and Finn.
“The children got to meet Finn and stroke him and ask PC Wardell questions. It was more successful than I ever thought it would be.”
Mrs Lawton added the pupils have taken up Finn’s Law as their own cause after being deeply affected by the story.
She said: “They were absolutely devastated about what had happened, they were appalled and all said ‘that’s not right’.
“Everyone agreed that the law should be changed.
“It’s something that we will continue on throughout the rest of the year because the children are quite emotionally involved. They have really got behind it and they feel like it’s something they have adopted as their cause.”
Finn had to undergo four hours of emergency treatment after the attack and was not expected to make it through the night, but incredibly he managed to survive and has now been adopted by PC Wardell.
PC Wardell told the pupils: “He never left my side and he didn’t stop until the job was done. He had four holes in his lungs and he was bleeding and he still didn’t give up.”
Afterwards he told the Observer: “Meeting the children was amazing. When I heard that they were doing a project on Finn, Finn’s campaign and police dogs I was taken aback and just had to visit them with Finn.
“We got to hear some of their work in assembly and it was quite an emotional moment. When you hear how these amazing young people appreciate the work and the bravery of these animals who work to keep our society safe, it’s very touching.”
He added that their project work had been shared by people around the world in support of the campaign.
He said: “The children of year six St Bartholomew’s have made a difference.”