There’s great ap­peal in a bea­gle

Central Leader - - NEWS - By SA­MAN­THA SMITH

MOST run­ners will be wear­ing shorts and a T-shirt when they cross the start line at Ports of Auck­land Round the Bays on March 8.

Brett Hick­man will be in a mas­sive bea­gle suit.

The Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries de­tec­tor tech­nol­ogy manager is based at Auck­land Air­port and will run the 8.4 kilo­me­tre course in the suit to cre­ate in­ter­est in the min­istry’s de­tec­tor dog puppy foster pro­gramme.

The bio-se­cu­rity bea­gle suit, nick­named ‘‘Max’’, is quite tricky to wear, Hick­man reck­ons.

It is so large and so hot it has an in­ter­nal fan in the head.

‘‘And I think I might have to go and get slip­pers that look like paws be­cause with the feet on this cos­tume you pretty much have your legs wide apart.

‘‘No doubt there will be a lot of walk­ing.

‘‘I’m go­ing to try to run he says.

‘‘But the big­gest prob­lem is the head be­cause you can’t ac­tu­ally see much – you look out the nose.’’

Min­istry work­mates will run along­side Hick­man and more will be at the fin­ish line, putting on a bar­be­cue while hand­ing out pam­phlets on the puppy foster pro­gramme.

Pup­pies are kept at the de­tec­tor dog breed­ing cen­tre in the early stages and then go into foster homes for 12 to

,’’ 14 months un­til they are ready to be trained.

‘‘When they are in the home, they get the so­cial­i­sa­tion, get used to go­ing out into the public, loud noises and be­ing around kids,’’ Hick­man says.

‘‘That is a re­ally im­por­tant part but we just haven’t got enough peo­ple putting up their hands to help.’’

Help­ing hand: Nine-month-old bea­gle Dar­cie is a bit con­fused as Wendy Thor­ton in­tro­duces him to Max the bio-se­cu­rity bea­gle – aka Brett Hick­man.

Pho­tos: SA­MAN­THA SMITH

In cos­tume: Brett Hick­man tries on his Ports of Auck­land Round the Bays cos­tume for size.

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