Blog about animals
Selected the best cow in Germany
Fishing ban proposed near Rockall after rare scientific finds
Life and death on the riverbank
Baboon shot dead after escaping from Knowsley Safari Park
Birdwatch: Peregrine falcon
Iceland's fin whales are endangered. Stop this bloody cull
The pitfalls of elderly dog insurance
Valley where Edward Carpenter, gay rights campaigner and socialist, walked
Green groups warn government of national parks hunting backlash
Demand for ivory destabilising central Africa
Dog walker found neighbour trampled by cows, inquest hears
Cat stands for election in Mexican city
I hear some hip cat's running for mayor in Mexico. That gives me an idea
Wader chick fever grips birds and spotters alike
Philippines destroys five tonnes of elephant tusks
The Dwyfor is surely one of the loveliest of Welsh rivers
New to nature No 107: Typhochlaena costae
How to beat the midges this summer
Controversial herring gull cull gets green light
Whaling's day in court is a sea change for conservation
Australia censures Japan for 'scientific' whaling
The young red deer stags were on their hind legs boxing, just like hares
Our garden's blackbirds started their nest-building early this year
UK wildlife and nature hit hard by erratic weather
  One man and his sniffer dog help tackle Germany's hidden drug problem
A German man and his dog have offered up their services to help concerned parents sniff out whether their children are taking illegal drugs.

Reiner Reuther and his dog Thor search flats, bedrooms and cars for controlled substances such as cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy but leave it up to the parents to decide whether or not to alert police. "We are just there to bring people certainty," Reuther told the Guardian.

In one case, Reuther was called in to help after a set of parents became suspicious that their daughter was using drugs. He searched the home while the daughter was out for a few hours and quickly found a stash of cocaine hidden in a jumper in the dirty washing. The discovery helped the parents plan a discussion with their daughter, he said.

But another case turned out rather differently when the parents called the police on their son who then faced criminal proceedings and lost his apprenticeship.

"Private dog handlers are not subject to this obligation," said Reuther, emphasising that his services were 100% anonymous. "We advise the parents principally to get drug counselling, they can get a psychologist for the children. [But] the parents can decide how they want to proceed."

As well as working with parents for around 95 (£82) per search, Reuther and Thor also track down drugs at businesses including nightclubs, and at some private schools. "The schools have problems, that's widely known, but it's not talked about," he said. "Drugs are a problem that is always there and it's a topic that is mostly covered up."

After working as a hotelier for 25 years and training dogs on the side, Reuther wanted to work with the animals full-time. He got the idea for his business while training as a dog handler at a police academy in the US.

He said that in America, searches for drugs at schools happened routinely. He finished his exam to become a sniffer-dog handler and bought Thor back to Germany. After setting up his website and getting Thor accustomed to his new home, they went to work.

"I wanted especially to help parents so they could get certainty about their children and better react to get them help," he said.

In America and England, he said, people were much more open about drugs. "In Germany, people speak about it behind closed doors but like I said, the problem is there and it's not small.

At the moment Reuther and Thor are a one-man, one-dog operation, but Reuther said he hoped that would change. "We work alone, but the business is being built up," he said.
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