Another successful training weekend was held in the mountains of Glencoe, with 19 of our members attending and 7 volunteers to ‘hide’ in the mountains for our dogs to find. Without the help of our 7 volunteers we would not have been able to run such an excellent training weekend, so to them, a huge thank you from all our dogs and handlers.
Thank you also to our friends from Burns Pet Nutrition for delivering our dog food on Friday evening. Our dogs will be well fed this winter.
Training is well underway for our four new dogs as they start on their journey to become mountain rescue search dogs. They will all hopefully go on to assist the busiest mountain rescue teams throughout Scotland in the future. Good luck to Casey, Felix, Aonach and Clova.
Dogs and handlers enjoyed working on Buachaille Etive Beag, and all were pleased that the weather remained mild and dry!
In the second of our series where we profile SARDA Scotland dogs- we meet Flynn.
Flynn is the younger of two German Shepherds in SARDA Scotland. Flynn is four years old; is always up for fun and loves to play tug with the other dogs, (especially with Coby the other German Shepherd), or she will grab a toy and play with any human who will indulge her. Our volunteers comment about how gentle Flynn is when she is playing. She is also very fond of having her belly tickled when she is more relaxed. Flynn loves women, and her owner suspects that she is mildly disappointed that he is a man.
Flynn began to train as a search dog at just over a year old; this is a bit older than most of the collies in SARDA Scotland, because larger dogs such as German Shepherds need to be given time for their joints to develop properly before they get lots of exercise. Her first qualifying find was a missing person who was located in a spot that would have been out of sight for human searchers, which illustrates how great it is to be able to use your nose to detect people!
As time has gone by Flynn has become very good at not just finding people, but also articles that they may have dropped, such as hats, gloves and …….well you can see for yourself in the picture! The owner of that particular article did not seem to be around, or may have been forced into hiding.
So, if you ever do happen to be in the hills and a black shape with pointy ears gallops towards you and starts to bark, don’t worry she is just telling her handler that she has found you.
Good luck to Jim Bramald who is running an ultra marathon on Saturday to raise funds for SARDA Scotland, as a thank you for the efforts put in trying to find his Dad Ian, who went missing last February in the Buckie area.
We wish him good luck and send him our thanks. More information can be found about Jim’s challenge on our Just Giving page.
August training took place at Lochgoilhead. It was a very successful weekend, with two handlers and dogs achieving novice search dog grade. Well done to Alasdair and Torin, and Paul and A’Ghlas Bheinn (Glash). Around 60 hours later we learned that Paul and Glash had located a missing person in the Kintail area. Talk about fast work! Congratulations to them.
Paul and Glash
Alasdair and Torin
Full search dogs had a good run out with splendid weather on Saturday which we were grateful for, as we held the SARDA Scotland barbecue that evening. Many thanks to Ken and Moira for being such good hosts.
Handlers and volunteers relax in the evening sunshine
‘Puppy School’ currently has one pupil, Clova, who is now beginning to work larger areas. Felix (pictured below) is our newest recruit and will begin training when he is a little older. At present, he is a feisty four month old, and is already socialising well with the other dogs, and playing confidently with our volunteers. Needless to say that there are always plenty of willing helpers for that particular job.
Felix hitches a lift
Training for July took place in Cairngorm. We had a successful weekend with dogs progressing well. There was quite a strong wind which was warm and blew away the midges for us.
We also met Felix; the little puppy who wants to be a search dog when he grows up.
Rod ‘socialising’ Felix. We were not sure who was having the most fun!
Felix watching the big dogs to see how it is done
SARDA Scotland handler Allison and her dog Midge recently received the Divisional Commander Commendation from Police Scotland, in recognition of their actions during a mountain rescue in Cairngorm in January 2014. They endured extremely difficult weather conditions and a high avalanche risk during a rescue where a male had fallen through a cornice and down a cliff. Congratulations to them for their award.
Training last weekend took place at Glencoe. There was a good turn out of handlers of both full and novice search dogs, and of course puppies for ‘puppy school’.
The weather remained dry, but the constantly changing wind direction meant that the handlers had to work a little harder. The puppies are progressing well, and there are always a lot of volunteers offering to play with them!
Well done to search and rescue dog Tara, wh0 located a missing walker on Ben Nevis last Sunday evening.
The first training weekend of the new training year took place in Braemar last weekend. The weather was drier than had been forecast but was still very cold for the time of year. For three young dogs it was their first ever training weekend, and as usual our volunteers enjoyed playing with the puppies. We are all looking forward to watching their progress.
The first in a series where we profile our search dogs. Today we meet Cranna.
Cranna showing off her ‘dancing’ skills.
Cranna is a Border Collie of approximately 22 months old. The reason that we do not know her exact age is because she was found as an abandoned pup; tied to the bumper of a car. Luckily, some passers by spotted her before the car drove away, and Cranna was handed in to a local dog kennels. As luck would have it, the owner of the kennels knew that Cranna’s handler was looking for a dog and gave him a call. Cranna’s life was about to take on a new direction, and she began her training to become a search and rescue dog in June last year. She was a good learner and passed her assessment to Novice Search Dog in March 2014 gaining the Madras Trophy for best Novice Search Dog. Like all dogs, Cranna has her little quirks, and is far from perfect, as the mud patch full of holes in her owner’s back garden will testify. She also has a trick of standing up on her back legs to get a better view of things. It has been mentioned she is learning Irish Dancing but you can judge from the picture. She likes to begin the day early and whines until her owners are wide awake, but like many dogs, Cranna does not seem to know the difference between a weekday and the weekend! No long lie-ins anymore then, but then think how many adventures you can pack into your day if you get up early!