Since the late 1980’s, CVSRT has been fortunate to benefit from the additional support of our four-legged friend – the Search Dog. So far, 16 dogs belonging to Team Members have assisted the team with missing person searches. Search dogs are not restricted to their teams local area and can be called upon to assist with searches anywhere in the country - most notably our dogs have assisted with major incidents in Ireland, Scotland, The Lockerbie air disaster and in Machynlleth, Wales for the April Jones search.
Until recently, CVSRT had five operational search dogs and three trainee dogs, however two of our longest serving dogs, ‘Nell’ and ‘Pepper’ (both border collies) have started a well-earned retirement following more than 10years service dedicated to the team.
'Pepper' (handled by Ellie), spent three years learning her trade, which culminated in her successfully passing a three-day assessment and joined CVSRT as a fully graded search dog in January 2007. She loves people, so finding them is a great game. Combine this with her favourite squeaky toy as a reward and she is more than happy. Her intensive training focused on basic obedience to finding people (bodies) hiding on a hillside and letting Ellie know by barking and leading her back to the person.
'Pepper' and Ellie practiced and trained virtually every day for three years and the results were incredible.
During her working life 'Pepper' has provided a keen nose to many searches, both in the Calder Valley and further afield. As well as assisting in Wales, she has had many outings to the Lake District, Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales. In 2015, a major search was mounted in atrocious weather conditions by multiple rescue teams to locate a missing walker in the Lake District. It transpired that he had fallen from the summit of Helvellyn and unfortunately did not survive the fall. 'Pepper' and Ellie were deployed to assist fellow search teams and successfully located the man who had been missing for several days. Thankfully not everyone 'Pepper' has found were so unfortunate: over her working life she’s had five finds, two of which were on consecutive searches. 'Pepper' is looking forward to a long and happy retirement.
'Nell' (handled by David) passed her assessment in Snowdonia and joined CVSRT in March 2006, a few months before her second birthday. She was a quick learner and took to search work very enthusiastically. Her first assignment was to the Lake District a couple of weeks after passing her assessment and a few months later located a flood victim in the River Swale in North Yorkshire. She was instrumental in locating a despondent adult on Ilkley Moor, with David providing emergency care to the casualty. 'Nell' has always been a confident dog, happy to work at great distances from her handler and thereby searching and clearing large swathes of moorland or mountainside very efficiently. She retired recently on her 13th birthday, having given over 11 years of service to CVSRT.
Following 'Nell' and 'Peppers' retirement, CVSRT still has excellent support from two border collies, ‘Meg’ and ‘Jack’ who are both 8 years and still in their prime, also from ‘Finn’ - a smooth coated collie (handled by Stephen), who recently joined CVSRT.
There are also three new trainee search dogs within the team. ‘Wynn’ - a lively collie, who lives with David and 'Nell'; ‘Tinker’ - a boisterous Labradoodle (handled by Simon); and most recently ‘Orion’ - a bouncy springer spaniel (handled by Gary). All unaware that the great game that they are learning to play could in the future provide a lifesaving service.
CVSRT would like to thank 'Nell' and 'Pepper' for their many years of dedication and commitment to the team and the community.
On Thursday 14th September (18:30-20:30), members of CVSRT and SARDA England handlers and dogs will be giving a talk and demonstration as part of the South Pennines Walk & Ride Festival 2017. There will also be an easy, family and dog friendly walk (4miles) with Calderdale Ramblers giving panoramic views of Cragg Vale and Stoodley Pike, before returning to Craggies Café and Farm Shop for refreshments.
For more information and to get involved, please visit: South Pennine Walk & Ride Festival 2017
At 19:55, CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to provide urgent assistance with a vehicle, which had left the A672 (Rishworth Moor) and had come to rest approx. 50-60ft down the steep banking in a deep ravine. 19 CVSRT members were available to assist immediately and deployed in team vehicles or directly.
Once on-scene, team members were advised by West Yorkshire Police that the driver was missing from the vehicle, so we were tasked with assisting with a multi-agency search for the driver at the crash site and surrounding moorland.
At 02:00, CVSRT members concluded their tasking and returned to base, then onward to their homes. No further information is available at this moment.
Police enquiries are ongoing.
In attendance: 19 CVSRT
West Yorkshire Police (WYP)
West Yorkshire Police Dogs (WYPD)
West Yorkshire Police Roads Policing Unit (WYP RPU)
National Police Air Service (NPAS CarrGate)
Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA)
Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS)
YAS BASICS Doctor
YAS Hazardous Area Response Team (YAS HART)
West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service (WYFRS)
WYFRS Technical Rescue Unit (TRU)
Search and Rescue Dog from Cave Rescue Organisation (SARDA England) (CRO)
Total Duration: 6hrs 5mins
- Date Saturday, 19 August 2017
- Location Boothwood Reservoir, Rishworth Moor
- Grid Reference SE 01038 16142
- Latitude 53.641790
- Longitude -1.9857744
- Man Hours 97.3
- Members In Attendance 19
WARNING: CUTENESS ALERT
Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team (CVSRT) are very happy to announce that a new addition will start training very shortly in the hope of eventually joining the team!!
11weeks old Springer Spaniel ‘Orion’ with his owner and handler CVSRT Gary Smith from Todmorden, have dived straight into training which is expected to take approximately 2years to achieve the standard set by the Search and Rescue Dog Association. The pup has three distinct markings on his back that look similar to the stars in the constellation of ‘Orion’s Belt’. Orion is also known as ‘The Hunter’ in Greek mythology, so it seemed an appropriate name to choose for a search dog.
Gary joined CVSRT in 2015 and has been very actively involved with the development of our current search dogs by regularly volunteering as a ‘dogsbody’ for training, and also assisting as a navigator for our search dog handlers when they are deployed on callouts. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ‘dogsbodies’ are highly valued people in the development of a search dog. These volunteers go out on the hill in all weather conditions to hide for the dogs to find on training exercises and assessments courses. They are essential and help to hone the dogs’ senses.
Search dogs have been a part of CVSRT since 1977. Over the years there have been 15 dogs and 10 handlers assisting the team on searches. The dogs are trained to 'Air Scent' so, as a general rule, they do not track the missing person, but react to wind borne human scent. A search dog can cover large areas of ground, including difficult terrain and woodland in the search and is very sensitive to any human scent it finds. It will immediately follow a scent to its source. It will then ‘indicate’ to its handler, usually by barking, to let them know it’s made a 'find'. It is not unusual for a dog to pick up a scent from a missing person, 500metres or more away.
If you would like to follow Orion’s development and training, he has his own Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/redtagspan/
To do something amazing and volunteer as a dogsbody please email: email@example.com
To find out more about CVSRT Search Dogs please visit: http://www.cvsrt.org.uk/the-team/cvsrt-search-dogs
CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to assist with the evacuation of a young male who, had fallen from a tree and impaled his upper leg on a branch whilst he fell to the ground. A CVSRT doctor and a YAS Responder Paramedic cared for the casualty and then he was packaged and evacuated to the ambulance for onward journey to hospital.
Coincidently several dog handlers from SARDA England were training nearby and diverted to assist with the callout.
In attendance: 22 CVSRT
Yorkshire Ambulance Service
Total Duration: 1hr 16mins
- Date Thursday, 13 April 2017
- Location Snake Hill Wood, Halifax
- Grid Reference SE 07994 26219
- Latitude 53.732305
- Longitude -1.8803046
- Man Hours 27
- Members In Attendance 22
At our AGM last week, CVSRT & SARDA member Ellie Sherwin was awarded with her 25 years Long Service Award with Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team. What an excellent achievement and incredible commitment. Well done Ellie, from all at CVSRT. (pictured here with Search Dog Pepper).
Ellie has kindly written a synopsis of her time with the team so far…
“I have always been an outdoor person and over 25 years ago I was acting as a “body” for the search and rescue dogs. At this point I decided I would like to be more involved in the nitty gritty of the rescue team and possibly the search dogs, so approached the team about joining.
I can remember being grilled about my “hill” experience, but think that membership of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District, numerous Munro’s bagged, trips to the Alps, (including Mont Blanc), probably helped to convince the training officer of my capabilities. I also had an outdoor career as a Countryside Warden, at Hollingworth Lake Country Park, which may have contributed to my suitability.
During my time in Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team I have held the position of Secretary and Minutes Secretary, but my main interest has always been with the Search and Rescue Dogs. After a difficult period training my first dog Bonnie, I was awarded the coveted “Novice Shield” in 1995, for outstanding performance at the assessment.
The 4-day assessment confirms your ability to be included on the call out list as a dog handler. In fact my first call out was to search for a man missing near Baitings Dam near Ripponden, and after a very short search Bonnie located the missing person alive, behind a broken down wall. Following this we featured on a TV programme “Potty about Pets”, in which the team, Bonnie and myself were involved in a re-enactment of the scenario.
Bonnie sadly died at 10 years old, but after a short break Pepper joined the family and proved to be a willing student in the art of search and rescue. Pepper has been graded for 7 years now and in that time has found 2 missing people. I have been National Secretary for SARDA England for two long periods and have also held the position of Members Rep and Training Officer.
Through the team I have had the privilege of joining a group of like-minded people, with great skill and enthusiasm, all dedicated to helping others”.
CVSRT & SARDA dog handler
Click here to find out more about CVSRT Search Dogs.
On Saturday saw the deployment of the team en masse to the streets in Halifax and Keighley for our annual Christmas Collection to help raise essential funds to keep the team operational. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to few individuals who helped throughout the day.
Thanks to Christian Scott Hairdressing who supplied water for our Search Dogs and made hot drinks for team members and gave us a box of chocolates towards the end of the day. Thanks also to Liquid Lens, Wright Angle Marketing and Elysium Screens for producing a 10 second digital advert that displayed on loop on the large advertising screen in Halifax town centre… and most of all, many thanks to all Christmas shoppers and local community who came along and supported us throughout the day. Your heart-warming messages of support, incredible gestures of kindness and very generous donations were gratefully received.
The grand total raised was £ 3,891.83. Please accept our sincere thanks.
Have a wonderful Christmas and stay safe if you’re out and about this festive season.
Thank you. CVSRT
If you missed seeing the team but still want to donate, please visit the Support Us page. Thank you.