Some updates on the recent activities of our DVSD Search Dog Handler Dave Marsh and his DVSD Search Dog Sasha

On Thursday 3rd December 2015, we reported within our website, that our very experienced DVSD Search Dog Handler David Marsh (who has been a former long serving Mountain Rescue Air Scenting Search Dog Handler within Bolton MRT) journeyed to Northern Ireland, where he was involved in SARDA Ireland North Search Dog assessments over the weekend.

Dave’s report on his time across the Irish Sea reads;

“Whilst the northern counties of England were bracing themselves for the incoming Storm Desmond, team member Dave Marsh and his Water Search Dog Sasha, were aboard the MV Uylsses [Irish Ferries] crossing from Holyhead to Dublin and onward to the Tollymore Outdoor Centre situated in the Mournes.

Accompanying Dave, was Ken Sloan from the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) England.

Dave and Ken had been invited to attend SARDA Ireland North’s assessment weekend as guest assessors.

Both managed to keep their stomachs insitu despite the deteriorating weather which produced Storm force 7 to 8 during the crossing.

Over the course of the weekend, this went from bad to worse but did not stop the ongoing assessments, after all, it could be debated that the gale force winds and driving winds are the type conditions handlers and dogs are called upon for their services.

It is pleasing to note that Davey Carlilse and Dog Heidi not only passed their allocated four search areas, but did so with gusto [no pun intended], thus achieving Full Search Dog status.

It was left to Dave and Ken to arise at 4 o’clock on Sunday morning, 6th December, for their ferry back, only to find it had been cancelled resulting in a four hour wait on the dockside in Dublin harbour for their next available lift home.”

Dave further reports the following training activities which he has recently undertaken, and have not previously been reported;

“Over the long weekend of 5th – 8th November 2015, Dave and his Dog Sasha, were invited to attend SARDA Wales assessments as an external assessor.

Over the course of the weekend, Dave, alongside other assessors, viewed both Lowland and Mountain handlers and dogs participating in the assessments.”


“Over the weekend of 13th – 15th November 2015, Dave and Sasha [in tow] were asked to attend National SARDA Anglia’s assessment due to the guest assessor having to cancel at short notice.

Dave obliged accordingly and spent the time viewing two handlers and dogs working a minimum of four 2 hour areas over the course of the weekend.

A 100% pass rate is normally expected [and achieved] and if there is a failure in any area, discussions take place as to what occurred.

If this happens, the handler and dog are then tasked to successfully search an additional area on the Sunday, which  results in them being deemed suitable to attend live searches.

It was very pleasing to note that both handlers and their dogs passed and are now involved in live searches.”