SINGAPORE: Seven-year-old Zam is a calm and friendly Labrador, who gets easily excited when it comes to "food and playing ball", his owner Maurice Chua joked.
In February, the 57-year-old retiree adopted Zam - a retired sniffer dog that served in the Singapore Police Force K-9 unit for five years as an explosive detector dog.
Zam's K-9 handler, who had trained him and was deployed with him on patrols, reunited with the Labrador for the first time in two years on Tuesday (Jun 26).
"I feel very happy that he’s found a home for himself after we’ve been fighting crime for the past five years," station inspector Tham Kah Hwee said. "And he finally found a home that’s very caring for him."
However, under an expanded initiative by the Ministry of National Development (MND), retired sniffer dogs like Zam can now be adopted by their handlers living in public housing flats.
Previously, sniffer dogs could only be adopted by those living on landed property - be it their handlers or members of the public - due to size and breed regulations set by the Housing and Development Board (HDB).
Since the expanded Project ADORE was launched last June, 13 dogs have been rehomed with their handlers, including sniffer dogs such as Labradors, pointers and cocker spaniels from the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force.
One dog from the Singapore Armed Forces Military Working Dog Unit was also adopted by its handler.
Project ADORE was first launched in 2012 and has rehomed 834 mixed breed dogs in public housing flats, with adopters allowed to keep one dog per flat.
Such dogs, which weigh up to 15kg and are 50cm in height, were not allowed to live in HDB estates previously.
To ensure that the dogs do not cause any nuisance to neighbours, adopters must abide by strict ownership conditions, such as sterilising, microchipping and enrolling their dogs for obedience training courses.
According to MND, the initiative has since been "well-received", with the expanded pilot project currently being reviewed.