SARDA Assessment Weekend

This last week-end saw our Training Officer Dave Marsh, travelling down to just north west of Canterbury, Kent, having been invited to participate as a lead assessor, on behalf of the National Search and Rescue Dog Association Kent.

Readers will recall that Dave is a former SARDA England Mountain Rescue Air Scenting Dog Handler, and is currently training to be a Drowned Victim Search Dog (DVSD) Handler with Sasha, alongside being Secretary for NSARDA.

NSARDA Kent is a member of the National SARDA set up and as such, agree to hold assessments on a regular basis in order that their working dogs are viewed to be ’fit for purpose’.

This ensures that both dogs and handlers are qualified to the same standards that all other NSARDA associations, throughout the UK work to.

The assessments commenced Friday morning, 31st January and finished late Saturday afternoon 2nd February.

It is pleasing to note that three dogs maintained their competence levels and were re-qualified to the standards laid down.

On a sadder note, one dog was retired having participated in over 150 searches during the course of its working life.

Sunday 2nd February saw Dave travelling across to Farnborough, where he met up with fellow Drowned Victims Search Dog handler Phillip Eichman.

Phillip is in the early stages of DVSD training with his young dog Skye and are members of ALSAR [Association of Lowland Search and Rescue] and this joint training emphasises the working together of both associations for the benefit of the missing person, long may that be so.

On the way home, Dave stopped over at the Harper Adams University in Shropshire to view the facilities offered with a potential to it being used as the venue for the 50th Anniversary of Mountain Rescue Search Dogs Conference.

This will be a celebration of an initial idea by Hamish MacInnes, the famous Scottish mountaineer and renowned mountain rescuer, who founded the idea of using dogs for search and rescue in this country.