DVSD Dog Handler Dave Marsh was invited over to Glengalough, Ireland, on Saturday 25th April, [in the guise of Secretary of National Search and Rescue Dog Association], for what was hoped to be an inaugural meeting between SARDA Ireland North, SARDA Ireland and Irish Search Dogs.
Here is Dave’s account of today ;
“Everybody knows that if you are getting up early for a flight etc one sets the alarm clock accordingly.
I awoke at 00-30 hrs after an ‘early bed’ only to keep waking up every 45 mins just to check if the alarm was still working.
At 03-30 I gave in and arose. Following a quick tea n’ toast, I was on my way to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport.
During the course of my travel I was passed by one car [memo to Government] why cant motorway travel be made as easily as this?]
So, I made the 06-30 flight to Dublin, and was surprised to find the flight packed with people making their way for a long weekend break in Ireland’s capital.
Due to the early start, time was spent warming benches awaiting the pickup by the lads from SARDA Ireland North.
We eventually arrived at the Wicklow Gap for the arranged meeting and was welcomed by the cold and driving wind and rain [‘Oh! you should have been here yesterday – it was gorgeous’] comments aplenty.
In the spirit of exposing warts and all in the quest for excellence, SARDA IN was invited by Irish Search Dogs to cast an eye over two of their new handlers and dogs, Aideen and Louise.
In the event, both did really well in very challenging weather conditions.
Thanks especially to the “bodies” who had to lie in cold wet conditions for some time waiting to be found by Louise and Aideen and one or two other handlers.
It was good to see the three groups working in cooperation with each other and all for the common good of the missing person.
A suggestion was made at the debrief by SARDA IN, that perhaps now is the time to consider introducing an umbrella group for search dogs in Ireland, similar to NSARDA and working in close cooperation with NSARDA.
The representatives from all three groups expressed support for the concept but will clearly need formal approval from their respective committees before the idea can be progressed.
Other groups will be contacted and an inaugural meeting date then suggested for a venue in Dublin perhaps.
The aim of the new group would be to set and oversee standards of search dogs in whatever discipline, for the whole of Ireland and thereby to ensure that whoever offers a search dog to the authorities, to assist in a missing person scenario, would be quality assured.
The group would be founded on a principle of cooperation between the various search dog associations North and South of the Border, but importantly, would be have to enjoy the complete support of the police in both jurisdictions.
The suggested name of the group was the National Search Dog Council of Ireland (NSDCI) but other names will be invited should NSDCI prove unacceptable.