On Friday 29th January Jim and Star, Gary and Holly, Marc and Will took part alongside Civil Defence members training with the Bristows Search and Rescue helicopter on Peel Headlands. This involved familiarisation, safety briefing and a talk inside the helicopter. The dogs then did a walk through with the helicopters auxiliary engine on. The team then decided to put the dogs away due to the stress caused by the downwash of the helicopter. All team members were then winched in pairs before the helicopter departed for Caernarfon. A big thanks to Bristows and Pilot Martin Sheppard and his crew.
Marc Marshal who has been bodying for SARDA IOM for a while and has navigated on call outs on a few occasions, has a collie pup called Will. Will has yet to pass the basic obedience tests before specialised training can start, but has started to attend, to further socialisation. All at SARDA IOM are hoping this maybe a search dog for the future!
(Will in control of the ball with Star patiently waiting behind)
Jim MacGregor was an external assessor for SARDA England for Friday 15th – Sunday 17th January. Based at Dovestones Reservoir for the weekend Jim assisted with a number of different assessment grades. “It was great to see a variety of dogs and strategies over the weekend. Assessing is definitely harder than working your dog the amount of emotions you go through.” Still lots learnt as usual. Photo below shows the weather we woke to on the last day.
SARDA IoM assisted with SARDA Wales with their November assessment. Jim was an external assessor assessing 2 mountain areas on the Friday and a lowland area on Saturday. Gary had his first taste of shadowing assessors and assisting with training. John, Mal & Christine bodied for the weekend in what proved to be very wet conditions. As ever, a great deal was learnt and experienced gained.
The very nature of being on call 24/7 means you never know what to expect. Before October the dogs had only had one call out in April with a successful DOG FIND. Since then it has been very quiet but in the two months of October and November SARDA IoM has been involved in a further 5 call outs. The continued intensive training continues throughout the year to prepare the teams for these situations.
One of the aims of the charity is education about dogs and their welfare. Jim & Star recently went in to talk to the unit at the Isle of Man College about Search & Rescue Dogs and the work they do. This culminated in a little display in the college grounds. Just received a great thank you card from students (pictured) A great afternoon and hopefully we can show you all what the dogs can do on the hills sometime.
Jim & Star
Congratulations to Gary and Hollie for passing their Novice Lowland Assessment.
Busy assessment weekend! Dogs from SARDA Wales, SARDA South Wales, SARDA IOM and Staffordshire Search and Rescue all being assessed.
Holly and Star
Collecting on the 2012 Parish Walk was
Jim Macgregor in the SARDA IoM mascot suit
and Nigel Smith
Some of the team watching an assessment
with SARDA Wales