SARDA – The Search and Rescue Dog Association – Clova a new addition.

SARDA

SARDA

I am very privileged to be a honorary member of SARDA  and still have many friends in Scotland and all over the UK. As a young lad I met many of the legends That was  SARDA in Scotland and Wales. Great people men and women who usually worked alone in the wildest of weather on searches in then  mainly mountains all over the UK. In these early days as is now they were very like the RAF Mountain Rescue Teams and traveled all over to call -outs. We would meet them in their vans in some bleak glen ready for a first light search. On a long search they would stay with us often in the spartan village halls for the night on long protracted searches. I was amazed how they worked alone man/woman and dog in some huge Corrie often with poor radio contact. On several occasions they were left on the hill after a big search sometimes a forgotten asset after a casualty was found. When I managed to get in charge of a team I made sure that we never left till everyone was safely off the hill, not just in our own team but especially SARDA. Things are much different nowadays SARDA and the teams have better communications. It is great to see how much a huge part they play in SAR since the early days in Glencoe with Hamish MacInnes. At times they were a poorly used resource in some areas and much had to be done to improve this and the knowledge of what a well trained dog can achieve.

sarda troops

Nowadays they are well used asset especially in the massive change in Urban and  Rural Searches where they are a  regularly used.    To me the SARDA dogs are an incredible asset especially in a Avalanche and to watch them work in this field is amazing. If there is an avalanche you need to get in searchers and dogs in fast as it so important to save life. Helicopters is the way to so this quickly and  this is what we tried to work on at the ARCC ( Rescue Centre) where I worked for several years.     

Rod and his young puppy Clova.

Rod and his young puppy Clova. A long process of training 2 years of dedication. I wish Rod and SARDA a safe winter.

My old friend who started mountaineering with in the late 70’s Rod Stoddart has a new dog this is a wee piece on him and his collie called Clova. Rod and me had some adventures in our youth and I introduced him into the mountains and he has never looked back.  The training of a dog is a huge project and its working life can be short but what a great bond between man/woman and dog especially in SARDA.    All the best to Rod and Clova,

Scotland’s search and rescue dog team has a new recruit, a 12-week-old collie in Fife called Clova.

The puppy will begin training in May to help police and mountain rescue units locate missing climbers. Clova belongs to St Andrews-based Rodney Stoddart, 58, who has three decades experience in mountain rescue. Clova also has to be trained to accept being winched 200ft in the air by helicopter in case she has to be lowered onto a narrow ridge. Trained dogs track using human scent and can cover large areas in a short space of time, day or night and in all weather conditions.

Bravery award

Mr Stoddart is preparing to train Clova after years of working with Driesh, his nine-year-old collie who is credited with saving at least 10 lives. Earlier this year Driesh was honoured by the PDSA Animal Bravery Awards programme. Mr Stoddart, a volunteer with the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA), said Clova is already showing some of the attributes necessary to become a successful member of the team.

He said: “She’s potentially got some of the things I like to see, like inquisitiveness.”A lot of people have been holding her and saying hello so we are building up the people side of things.”But importantly, she’s going to enjoy her puppy life, pulling my boots across the floor like she’s been doing. Then hopefully we will begin training in May next year.”Scotland has 21 search dog teams which are available round the clock for call outs from the police and mountain rescue crews.

Training takes two years.

Mr Stoddart said: “Our skills have to be pretty sharp as far as winter techniques are concerned and you’ve got to be OK working with equipment and with your dog.”There’s the helicopter work too, where the dogs might be winched 200ft.”Where a helicopter can’t land you on snow or ice or through a narrow ridge or something like that, you get lowered down.”You can’t just put a young puppy through that type of ordeal without doing training and building it up.”

This beautifully designed book is packed with stunning images and information about search and rescue dogs. From the early days of humans recognising the unique relationship we have with dogs, through the many skills and attributes of these amazing animals, the book tracks the development of SARDA from its early beginnings to the present day. Everything you ever wanted to ask about search and rescue dogs is here – how to choose them, train them, work them and keep them healthy – alongside anecdotes and tales, humorous, tragic and uplifting from handlers, casualties, experts in the field and even the dogs themselves.

This beautifully designed book is packed with stunning images and information about search and rescue dogs. From the early days of humans recognising the unique relationship we have with dogs, through the many skills and attributes of these amazing animals, the book tracks the development of SARDA from its early beginnings to the present day. Everything you ever wanted to ask about search and rescue dogs is here – how to choose them, train them, work them and keep them healthy – alongside anecdotes and tales, humorous, tragic and uplifting from handlers, casualties, experts in the field and even the dogs themselves.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Avalanche info, Friends, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to SARDA – The Search and Rescue Dog Association – Clova a new addition.

  1. dog John says:

    Thanks Heavy for all the praise for. SARDA.
    I remember all the times sleeping in my car or with RAF team in a hall. Big searches. Happy times.
    John

    Like

  2. Mike Walker says:

    Good piece Heavy, glad to see you’re still out and about.
    Mike

    Like

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