OSCAR & SARDA Spotlight: Alison Nicholson & Floss


OSCAR are proud to sponsor National Search and Rescue Dogs (NSARDA). The work that these lifesaving volunteers and dogs carry out is truly inspiring. By feeding all the graded (qualified) dogs for free, we aim to ensure that every SARDA dog is fully up to the gruelling challenge of searching hill, dale and urban spaces for loved ones.

We plan to get to know the SARDA handlers better and share some of their experience and stories over the coming weeks and months. This is our first SARDA Spotlight interview.


Handler Name: Alison Nicholson

Search Dog Details: Floss, Border Collie, nearly 10 years old

Search and Rescue Team: Bowland Pennine

Search Dog Type: Floss has trained as an ‘Air Scenting’ search dog.


Air scenting search dogs search routes, paths and areas looking for human scent particles. They do not discriminate scent i.e. they do not look for specific people but will look for anyone that is in the area. Once the dog finds a missing person they will return to their handler and ‘indicate‘ with a bark or by jumping up at them. Then the dog will take their handler back to the missing person with a ‘show me‘ command.


Which Oscar food is Floss fed?

Oscar Adult Care Pinnacle Plus.


How long have you and Floss been working together as a graded search dog team?

Since January 2009 – so 6 years 1 month.


What has been your proudest moment with Floss?

When Floss upgraded from novice to full graded mountain search dog in October 2010.


What is Floss’s favourite part of the job?

Floss loves the reward at the end of a find. Her favourite toy is a squeaky cracker!


How many searches have you and Floss been involved in?

In the 6 years since we have been a graded search dog team, we have been involved in 130 searches.


Tell us a funny story about Floss…

When it is time to feed the fish in our garden, Floss helps by running to the pond and barking at the fish. Floss has managed to train the fish to listen to her bark and they associate the noise with being fed! Now when the fish hear Floss barking, they rise to the top of the water waiting for their fish food! Floss also loves to attend Oscar shows, to guard all the Oscar food!


Help Spread The Word

Take a look at our SARDA page for suggested ways to contribute or donate. Or simply share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. You and I might need their help one day – you’ll be glad you helped!

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