Condolences on the passing away of Bolton MRTs second operational Search and Rescue Dog, “Search Dog Chi.”

This afternoon we received the very sad news from team call out list member and former SARDA (England) and retired Bolton MRT dog handler Dave Marsh, that his retired search dog, ‘Search Dog Chi,’ had sadly passed away today after a period of illness.

Born on 27th July 1997, Chi, graded as a ‘Novice’ Search and Rescue Air Scenting Dog with SARDA (England) in March 1999, after a very intensive period of training, becoming the teams second SARDA Dog at the time. (His colleague SARDA / Bolton MRT Search Dog Blue, Bolton MRTs first Search Dog, died last year on 21st March 2011)

In March 2001, Search Dog Chi (With his handler Dave Marsh playing a part in it ! ) was upgraded after further intensive assessments, to ‘Full Search Dog’ status.

Chi, pictured in December 2009

Chi and his handler Dave, served the Bolton MRT and other teams who requested their services for many faithful and memorable years before retirement beckoned due to an injury that Chi sustained.

The measure of any SARDA Dog is the oft asked question of the handler, “How many people has your dog found,” well Chi had many successful finds and served on over one hundred operational searches.

At Chi’s retirement, Dave was asked at the time about recalling some of the more memorable moments with Chi, amongst the ‘printable’ replies were the following;

“Being out on a search on my Silver Wedding Anniversary with Chi (My wife Gill will never let me forget this)”

“Being involved in a search for two missing school girls at Stainforth Beck.”

Asked at the same time about Chi’s best attributes, Dave replied ; “Cuddly, and a woman magnet on four legs with an outrageous sense of smell!”

Chi was also a much loved family dog to Dave, his wife Gill and their two daughters, and will be missed by all.

One little story from Chi’s time in the team, is that Dave (Webmaster ; all Dog Handlers we think) had his little rule that Chi whilst on operations and training should never ever be fed titbits by team members, so as not to distract him from the task in hand, ie devoting all his attention to air scenting for the missing person.

Now throughout Chi’s entire time in the team, he always made a beeline for (now retired) team call out list member Alison Yates, a self confessed animal lover, whilst on operations and training.

Dave never gave much attention to this except for calling Chi back to heel. It was only on Chi’s retirement from ‘active duty’ that Alison confessed to Dave, that for all the same time she had been feeding Chi little titbits on call outs and training, hence Chi’s friendship with Alison !

The entire team membership expresses its sincere condolences to Dave and his family on their sad loss of a much loved family pet and highly trained and successful Mountain Search and Rescue Dog, ‘Chi.’

Dave will publish some more tales of Chi’s life in his family and as a Search and Rescue Dog at a future date within this website.