19th January 2012 TOP AWARD FOR NEW RESCUE TEAM SEARCH DOG
TOP AWARD FOR NEW RESCUE TEAM SEARCH DOG
Teesdale & Weardale Search & Mountain Rescue Team (TWSMRT) based in County Durham now have an award winning search dog and handler within the team. Tony High from Penshaw, a team member for 6 years with his 2 1/2 year old border collie Isla have successfully completed a two year training and assessment programme organised by The Search & Rescue Dog Association (SARDA).
Not only were they successful in last weekends assessment but they won the Novice Shield which is awarded by SARDA England for outstanding performance by dog and handler throughout the assessment course. The achievement is even more outstanding as the shield has only been awarded 3 times in the last 10 years and never before to a dog and handler from the North East.
Tony said " It has taken us 2 years of hard work to get to this level. One of the hardest things is learning to read the signs the dog gives you when out searching and learning to have 100% trust that your dog is right".
Since starting training 2 years ago Tony and Isla have passed various assessments before spending 3 days in the Lake District on their final assessment. Tony said "We needed to search 5 large areas of the Lakeland Fells over 3 days, locate any casualties and be sure the area was clear when we had finished. Isla managed to locate all her casualties, I am very proud of her".
The difference between mountain rescue search dogs and other search dogs is that mountain rescue dogs search for any human air scent where other dogs tend to track an individual's scent along the ground. In ideal conditions the dogs can pick up this scent up to 1/2km from the casualty.
Steve Owers, Deputy Team Leader said "Tony like all mountain rescue personnel is a volunteer. Just passing the assessment is a great achievement but for Tony and Isla to be awarded the prestigious Novice Shield is some reward for the many hours of training they have put in. Some mountain rescue teams have no qualified search dogs, our team are fortunate that because of the dedication shown by all our handlers we now have 5. There vital skills will be used not only in County Durham but across all of the North of England."
Photographs attached - Tony and Isla with Novice Shield
Notes For Editor Teesdale
& Weardale Search & Mountain Rescue Team are affiliated to the "Mountain
Rescue - England and Wales". We provide a Search and Rescue service throughout
County Durham and beyond primarily for the Police but also for the other emergency
services. All Team members are volunteers and we rely on monies raised by ourselves
as a registered charity to run the Team. Further details regarding our latest
callouts and Team information can be found on our website www.twsmrt.org.uk