Latest News

Ruby qualifies as the Isle of Man’s first Trailing dog

This weekend Jim MacGregor qualified Ruby as a trailing dog, a first for the Isle of Man.  Trailing differs from the other previous dogs in that they usually work on a line and need a scent item of the missing person.  They then are able to discriminate scents and find one person, ignoring others scents.  Conditions on assessment were horrendous with over half a months rainfall falling in under 24 hours.  Photo shows assessors (left to right) Jamie from Sulsar, Steve from Sarda Wales, Jim and Ruby with “body Michelle” who hid out in terrible conditions.  Thanks to all assessors, bodies, support and everyone at SARDA Wales.

Star Retires after over 11 years on the call out list (Dec 2018)

Today’s training session In Ballaugh Glen is Mountain Search Dog Star’s last session which concludes a long service to Search and Rescue.  From qualifying with SARDA Wales when she was two years old Star and Handler Jim MacGregor have now served the Isle of Man through Search and Rescue, being ready for call outs for over 11 years.  A great big thanks to my family for allowing the time and commitment needed and to all those from the SARDA Community who have  helped train and maintain her standards and a special thanks to all throughout the years in SARDA IOM and SARDA Wales.  Star has been an amazing dog and has had a great deal of call outs and some finds, most notably two in the last year of her service.  The time has clearly come for Star to hang up her search jacket and relax (as much as star can!) and enjoy her time by the sea in Laxey.


SARDA Isle of Man have a new qualified dog on the call out list!

July 2018 Marc Marshal with search dog Matt have qualified with their initial grade and now go on the call out list.  The team passed all four areas on Snaefell, Clagh Ouyr, Groudle Glen and Stoney Mountain Plantation.  Pictured are (left to right) Jim MacGregor (assessor), Gary Wright (Chairman), Christine Lewis (Secretary), Harold Burrows (External assessor, Wales) and in the front Marc Marshal and Matt having just finished their final search area.  A special thanks to everyone who has supported the team to get to this standard including all people who have ever hidden for the team, SARDA IOM, SARDA Wales, SARDA Staffordshire and the Lake District Search and Rescue Dogs.  A special thanks also to the Matt Leach Fund who have supported financially the training of Matt (Matt was named after Matt Leach) and NSARDA.

Pokerstars extend their support for Ruby (Nov 2017)

Thanks to Pokerstars helping hands who have agreed to continue to support the training of Ruby.  She is currently in training to become the islands’ first scent discriminating dog which will require a lot of specialist help and support from handlers in the UK.  Thanks so much to Pokerstars for their support and vision for what will be a truly great asset for the Isle of Man.

Optimus (Isle of Man) Donation

Thanks to the staff of Optimus for their support of the Search and Rescue Dogs who raised a great £319 through dress down days.

Celton Manx support Sarda IOM with the purchase of new Radios

(November 2017)

Part of the search and rescue dog team with Bill Murray from Celton Manx

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Joint Operation with Isle of Man Police

Saturday 1st July SARDA IOM took part in a joint operation on the slopes of Beinn-y-phott with the Isle of Man Police.  The scenario was looking for four teenagers from a crashed car.  Gary and Holly with John Callow navigating and Jim and Star with Marc Marshall navigating split the area into two.  After 1.5 hours all the bodies were located.  A great work out for the dogs!


Launch of their ad staring Ruby

check it out at:

Ruby Training

Two pictures showing Ruby smelling the scent article and the motivation when given the command to “Go Find!”

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 SARDA IOM takes part in a joint exercise with the Police Cadets

May 2017 the police cadets met us at Windy Corner to see how the dogs work and how we fit into the bigger team of Search and Rescue on the island.  Ruby did her first demo with scent boxes and then Star and Jim showed the search sequence.  Two volunteers then hid with injuries including an open wound fracture and Gary and holly found the casualties.  Their injuries were then radioed through to the cadets who responded with support from Civil Defence and a stretcher to assess, treat and extract the casualties.

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Ruby May passes her stock test

After some intensive work Ruby passed her stock test.  This is a crucial element of becoming a search and rescue dog to allow us to use farmers land and work in other dog associations areas.  Thanks to Gillian and Mark for use of their land and sheep at Starvey.  Ruby and Jim now can start in earnest their training to become a search and rescue dog team.

SARDA IOM to take part in volunteers week

Saturday 4th March in the Sefton Hotel, Douglas from 10am-2pm.  pop in and see the dogs and the work that we do.

Search Dog Star and Jim Macgregor deployed in Chorley


19th February Jim Macgregor and search dog Star along with two members of Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team navigating were deployed to search for a missing 16 year old in the Chorley area.  After 45 minutes of searching the team were stood down.  Pictured are Steve and Elaine from SARDA Wales who also attended the call out.  The misper was located by Police outside the search area.

More great news – Ruby

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Ruby, a German Wired haired pointer has passed her Obedience test which is the first stage on her journey to becoming a Search & Rescue Dog.  A stock test is still to come and then she can start her formal training to become a trailing dog.  Thanks for the support from Pokerstars who sponsor Ruby and Andy Firth from Santon Dog Obedience for the efforts with his intensive training.

Great News – New trainee Search Dog


Congratulations to Marc Marshal and new trainee search dog Matt.  The team have now passed their Stock and obedience test.  Matt, who is only 6 months old and Marc have put a great deal of effort into their training to get to the high levels expected to qualify to start training.  They will now begin to specialise in their training to be a qualified search dog. Congratulations from all of the committee in SARDA IOM!

(pictured is from the right: Gary Wright-SARDA IOM chairman, Marc marshal and Mal Stewart -training officer with trainee search dog Matt.)

Peel Charity Shop Donation



Handler Jim Macgregor with his puppy “Ruby” and navigator Mal Stewart today attended a coffee morning at the Corrins Hall, Peel.  Peel charity shop which is independently run has been very supportive of the Search & Rescue Dogs in the Isle of Man.  Today the organisation donated a fantastic £2,500 to continue the training and support of our charity.  We are extremely grateful.

Pokerstars supports new puppy “Ruby May”

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Pokerstars (helping hands)  have agreed to sponsor Ruby May for her first two years of intensive training.  This will Provide funds for insurance, travel, training and equipment.  A massive big thanks for Pokerstars for their support and the naming of the new pup.


Ruby a new puppy for Jim and potential search dog has her first visit up Snaefell.


Still waiting for donations but weather wasn’t on their side!



New pup “Matt” joins the team






Mark has just taken on a new collie “Matt” with the hope of making it as the latest SARDA dog to join the team in the Isle of Man.  A long road ahead waits for Matt and Mark, but hopefully with hard work and dedication these are the first pictures of what will be the next air scenting dog on the island.

Thanks to Signrite!



Thanks to Signrite for doing Mark’s new van.  This is the this van Signrite have done for us and their support is most welcome.  Look out for the new van around the island.

Search & Rescue dog team sign up for Harbour2Harbour Walk

Harbour2HarbourA team from the Search and Rescue Dog Association has signed up for the 2016 Harbour2Harbour Walk, which takes place on Sunday May 15th.

The sponsored walk, supported by award-winning developer Dandara, already has more than 120 people committed to take part, including five from SARDA IoM.

SARDA IoM is Manx charity and member of the National Search and Rescue Dog Association. It provides two fully-trained search dogs and a team of handlers and navigators to support searches for missing people.

Dog handler Gary Wright explained: ‘One of our regular volunteers, Nigel Smith, mentioned the Harbour2Harbour at one of our training session walks, suggesting it would be a good way for us to raise awareness of SARDA IoM as many people don’t know that there are two qualified search dogs in the Island.

‘Searching for missing persons in large areas of land, often at night, can be a slow and difficult undertaking. Time is of the essence and search teams can be assisted by a dog’s ability to cover large areas of land very quickly. All our handlers and navigators are unpaid volunteers and members of the Isle of Man’s Emergency Services that make up the IoM Search & Rescue Group.

‘We also decided it would be a good way to help the Southern charities by putting a team together to raise money.’

Gary will be joined on the walk from Castletown to Port Erin by colleagues Marc Marshall, Mal Stewart, Nigel Smith and Christine Lewis. It is also hoped Holly the search dog will take part.

Leaving Castletown harbour at 10am, the walkers will head along the coastal path to Glen Chass and on to The Howe before joining St Mary’s Road and finishing at the Cosy Nook in Port Erin. Organisers would like to see more than 350 take part and help beat the £3,600 raised in 2015.

The event is organised by Southern Community Initiatives and the money raised supports a number of important local community projects, including Men in Sheds, Southern Befrienders and SPort Erin.

Event Co-ordinator Janet Bridle said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to have members of SARDA IoM committed to the walk. They do important work which more people should know about, so I hope the Harbour2Harbour walk helps raise awareness of the Association. I also hope they raise lots of money for our community projects!

‘It’s not long until the big day, and everything is coming along very well. We already have more than 120 people signed up, and know that many more will turn up in Castletown on May 15th to join in. I’d like to once again thank Dandara for its support, which has been invaluable.’

The Harbour2Harbour walk is a community event and not competitive. It’s open to all, and dogs are welcome as long as they are controlled and on leads. The organisers will be handing out branded buffs to walkers on a first come, first served basis – as well as special branded bandanas for dogs taking part.

Dandara Managing Director Seamus Nugent said: ‘The Harbour2Harbour walk supports a number of impressive community initiatives, and we are delighted to be able to support them. It is wonderful to see so many people have already signed up to take part, and I’m very pleased to see the team from SARDA IOM are getting involved. They do vital work, and deserve recognition.
‘We’re all looking forward to what promises to be a great community event, and are hoping for record-breaking numbers.’

To enter or find out more about the event, please email, call Janet on 838180 or visit  You can also stay up-to-date with the latest news via Facebook – See more at:


Jim Macgregor and Mal Stewart to tackle Mt Blanc

Jim Macgregor a handler with Sarda IOM and Mal Stewart a navigator along with Richard Beech from Sarda Wales will be tackling Mt Blanc this TT.  Jim and Mal are raising funds for Victim support (a charity which assists those that have been victims of crime).

More info can be found at:

Or if you are willing to donate this can be done at:


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Assessment with SARDA Wales (March 2016)

Gary with search dog Holly have now passed most of their upgrade assessment.  Unfortunately on the last morning it was discovered Holly had developed an illness with her leg.  A big thanks to Kes Taylor (a vet from SARDA Wales) who helped treat Holly.  There was uncertainty for a time whether the team would be able to travel back on the ferry due to Holly coming round from the aesthetic.  Fortunately all went well and now Holly is recuperating for the next two months off training and call outs.

Jim again was assessing both Gary and two teams from NSARDA Staffordshire along with a steve and Borris (a trailing dog from SARDA Wales).  Congratulations to Jim with Jake for now making the grade to go on the call out list for NSARDA Staffordshire.

(apologies for Frankie the pug photo bombing their team photo!)



SARDA IoM and Civil Defence training with Bristows

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.


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Marc joins the team!

Marc Marshal who has been bodying for SARDA IOM for a while and has navigated on call outs on a few occasions.  He has shown great interest and commitment now also attending two training sessions with SARDA Wales.  A great potential handler for the future.



Assessing with SARDA England

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.


Busy October & November 2015

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.


SARDA Wales Assessment 2015

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.

Jim Completes Snowdon Marathon

Jim Completed the Snowdon Marathon in 4 hrs 27 mins in the dog mascot suit “Manxie”. Thanks to all the good wishes on the way round and donations.  Collections on the day totaled £163 which will be added to the final total when known all for the Search and Rescue dogs in Wales.



Jim MacGregor becomes SARDA IoM’s first NSARDA assessor

After completing two “internal” assessments with SARDA Wales where different search areas were observed and commented on Jim has now completed the criteria by assessing with SARDA Southern Scotland.  SARDA IoM would like to thanks both organisations for their support and advice through the process, which can now only strengthen SARDA IoM further.  Pictured is Star who enjoyed a walk up Ben Vane with Jim after the assessing had been completed.


Jim MacGregor (SARDA IoM Handler) will tackle Snowdon Marathon

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Search & Rescue Dogs – Isle of Man (SARDA IoM) has entered into the 26 mile Snowdon Marathon to raise funds for the search and rescue dogs in Wales who assist with training and assessing search and rescue teams on the Isle of Man.

Taking on his latest challenge is SARDA IoM’s handler Jim MacGregor  who will tackle the route dressed as the teams’ mascot, a collie dog.  Previously the mascot (aka Jim)  has completed the London Marathon and has taken part in the Isle of Man’s parish walk, walking 32 miles before retiring to the local watering hole.

This year,  on Saturday 25th October,  Jim will tackle the challenge to circumnavigate the 26 miles of Mount Snowdon in full mascot fancy dress.

Jim MacGregor comments “This time there will be the additional challenge of not only the hilly route but also I will be collecting donations in a bucket on the way round, so will be taking on some extra weight.  Training has been going well although it will be very different conditions once I have the full dog suit on.’

Donations en route, along with sponsorship donations, will be given to SARDA Wales who have been instrumental in helping with training and assessments for SARDA IoM.  This support is vital to SARDA IoM, and ensures an essential and free service to the local community.


Trainee handler Gary Wright & Holly pass a pre-assessment area

Gary and Holly passed an observation by committee members Jim MacGregor and Sarah Nixon in Glen Mooar on Sunday 3rd July 2014.  This consisted of a 50 minute search for 3 of our dogs bodies hidden in the area.  The team worked really well with the view to being externally assessed in November adding a valuable second dog team to SARDA IoM.

Well done!

working with other organisations


SARDA IoM appears on Manx TV


SARDA IoM were recently filmed in Ballaglass Glen training the dogs.  If you are interested in getting involved please go to the contacts page.  To see the video clip go to:


Sniffer Dogs UK & International sponsor SARDA IoM

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Thanks to SDUKI for their very generous donation of head torches and hand held torches to SARDA IoM Handlers and navigators. These have come at an excellent time when previous head torches have started to show their age with loose connections. SARDA IoM are very thankful to SDUKI for their very generous support of the search dog teams and the work we do in the Isle of Man.

Contact: Maggie Gwynne
02380 864141 / 07739 096538