NSARDA (National Search and Rescue Dog Association) One Day Conference

Today saw team Call Out list members David Cook, Chris Weatherhead and Dave Marsh (Our Training Officer) journey over to Leyland, Lancashire, to attend the first ever National Search and Rescue Dog one day Conference.

Held at The Best Western Hotel, Leyland, the conference backed by NSARDA [National Search and Rescue Dog Association] commenced at 09.30hrs, with an interesting and informative programme over the day.

As our Training Officer Dave Marsh is also the Secretary of the association, it was left to him to get heavily involved in the organising of this event.

Dave Marsh is a former SARDA (England) Mountain Rescue Air Scenting Dog Handler and is currently training with Dog Sasha to become a DVSD Dog Team (Drowned Victim Search Dog) alongside his considerable experience and long service as an active mountain rescuer within the Bolton MRT.

Contacts throughout the search dog world were chased [successfully and unsuccessfully] and a varied list of speakers resulted in the following programme today:-

David Mongomery – speaking about how dogs learn and more importantly, how owners/handlers should realise what is happening during the training process.

Second on the list were Warrant Officers Alfie Bass and Kevin Gavin who gave a presentation on the Royal Army Veterinary Corp based at the Animal Training Centre in Melton Mowbray.

Lunch was taken followed by a presentation by PhD student Lorna Irish. Lorna is in the process of studying how dogs react to bodies in water [drowned or otherwise] and the processes a dog has to go through in locating the target source.

Next up was a presentation by Peter Croft, a Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology at the University Of Central Lancashire, who gave an illustrated talk on the decomposition of bodies, and the timescales involved.

Keith Warwick chatted about him being sought by the South Korean government with a view to setting up a Search Dog unit in that country.

The whole set up was sponsored by Samsung [a multi national South Korean business] with the provisioning of kennels, kennel maids, vets – in fact the whole gambit. Since the late 1990’s the South Koreans commenced a breeding programme which now provides dogs not only for air scenting search work, but also Fire, Police, Customs and other search dog applications.

The conference wound up with a novel presentation by dog food manufacturers Oscars.

They sent their Head Chef, Ken Stirk, to give a novel presentation as to what ingredients are to be found in their products.

With a bowl in front of him, Ken proceeded to add various ingredients, from the base layer to fish oils, chicken and other meats explaining along the way as to what each one does and why its included.

All in all, the conference was deemed a great success and all involved with NSARDA can now look forward to the 50th Anniversary of Search and Rescue Dogs in two years time.