Progress report on our Trainee Drowned Victim Search Dog Sasha, and her Handler Bolton MRT team member Dave Marsh

It is interesting to note that Bolton MRT very experienced call out list member (And former SARDA Air Scenting Search Dog Handler) Dave Marsh has been training Sasha for 12 months now, more or less to the day and with this in mind, a milestone has been reached.

Over the past year, Dave has set up various scenarios for Sasha to learn the art of being able to find drowned victims in whatever depth of water is encountered. Small steps have been taken to build up an overall picture of what is to be expected when Sasha eventually goes forward for assessment.

These steps have included working in various conditions on land before transferring into water. As well as using as many catchment areas as possible, Dave and Sasha may well have been spotted working numerous water courses in and around Bolton so that dog and handler gain valuable experience in running water.

However, today, a new plateau was reached, when Sasha gave her first indication of a ‘find’ from a boat. The target was approximately thirty metres offshore lying in circa six metres of water. Sasha not only barked at the location, but also jumped in, swam to the shore and continued with her bark indication. Dave can say that today has been the highlight of the years training so far.

All that is needed now is for Sasha to consolidate what has been achieved, with a view to working towards a possible assessment in August in Northern Ireland. This would provide the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team with the only qualified Water Search Dog (Drowned Victim Search Dog) in England, Wales and Scotland undertaking this type of very specialised search.

Watch this space for more news to come in the future over Sasha’s continuing excellent progress.