Remember the song by Rod Stewart Do you want my body; well I have found somebody who wants mine at last!!
Lads and Lassies they want yours as well. Who is it? NSARDA.!! The National Search and Rescue Dogs Association
Do you like dogs – do you mind being licked to death by puppy dogs?
Do you mind rolling around in the wet/snow/sheep sh** making silly noises?
Are you a little bit mad?
If this appeals to you, you would enjoy being an NSARDA “Dogs Body”
NSARDA Associations need bodies for all their training days and weekends as well as exercises.
You will need as a minimum, depending on the season, outdoor walking gear to go training with the dogs and depending on the level of the dog you will need additional equipment. You will be running around most of the day and need to keep warm and dry.
A sleeping bag, bivvi bag and sleeping roll mat will often be necessary and crampons with an ice axe if you are going to go high in the snow and ice.
When working with the young puppy dogs it is important that everything is a game and you have to be prepared to play tug, run around squealing and making silly noises playing tug in the mud/snow and anything else that is about!!
Puppies only have a small attention span so the games are fast and furious for a short time and then the pups need a rest.
For older puppies you may have to hide in one place for about a quarter of an hour to about half an hour. Depending on the weather you may need a sleeping bag and bivvi bag to keep you warm while you are lying about.
For novice dogs the time increases to about 2 – 3 hours and for graded dogs you can be in position for up to about 4 –5 hours – depending on the area you are working.
Sleeping bags and bivvi bags are a must here to keep you warm and dry and also to camouflage you so that the handler does not see you. You will not fool the dogs but if the handler can see you they can cheat and guide the dogs into you!
It is not necessary to buy any special gear until you are sure that you will like bodying – equipment can be loaned for the first time. It is best to try a weekend to see if you are going to enjoy it.
You are only asked to do what you are happy and confident in doing. If you do not like to go high in ice and snow – this is fine you will be put with the puppy dogs. If you like to go high you will be working with the graded dogs in some spectacular scenery.
I remember the first time I went to body for SARDA Wales in Scotland telling my colleague at work about the holiday I was taking. He said to me “Let me get this right – you are paying to go and lie on a wet hillside waiting for a dog to find you – you are sad”. I am not sad, I am very happy I thoroughly enjoy the week in Scotland, the handlers are a fantastic group of people, work hard, play hard and most of them drink hard!!! They always thank us for bodying and are really appreciative, for without us they would not be able to train their dogs.
I am often asked, “What do you get out of it?”
I get frozen, often wet, baked in the summer; get a wonderful tan on the bits, which have not been bitten by mossies or midges. Seriously – what I do get is a feeling of great pride in the dogs. When you have worked with baby dogs and watched them progress through to novice dogs and finally to fully graded dogs, I am so proud, because in a way they are my dogs too, I have helped them on their way.
If you want to hear some wonderful tales, most of them true and some very funny stories come along and GIVE US YOUR BODY!!
Dogsbody (SARDA England)