A CHESHIRE man and his dog have become the first ever lowland search dog and handler in the North of England.
Dominique Shrubb, 25, from Norley and his dog Tess passed their Air Scenting Assessment to become the first lowland search dog for the Cheshire Search and Rescue team.
Formally Warrington Search and Rescue, the Cheshire team was formed in January 2004 and they undertake search and rescue work around the county and in neighbouring areas.
Dominique said: “We started to train the dogs in March. Those of us who had dogs as pets decided we wanted to see if the dogs could meet the high level of skill needed to become search dogs.”
Dominque and Tess trained with the team once or twice a week, but Dominque says training a search and rescue dog is a 24/7 job.
He said: “As the dogs progress to an appropriate level they are then invited to train with the rest of the team on a mock search to get them accustomed to the noise and environment of a search.
“When Tess was ready, we trained with some of the mountain rescue dogs and gained valuable skills from experienced handlers.”
Dominique said the dog and handler must work well as a team and be able to get the best from each other.
He added: “Tess is able to pick up a scent travelling through the air and will follow it to its strongest point. Once reaching the point of origin she will then race back and alert the handler, indicating she has found something.
“We are very proud of what we do and train very hard to provide a service to community and the police in emergency situations.
“We would like to thank fellow members of the team, Bolton mountain rescue team, Berkshire search and rescue dogs, friends and family who have all given up hours to help with training, we could not have done it with out them.”
If you would like any more information, to join the team, sponsor or donate equipment visit www.cheshire-sarteam.org.