Hi, my name’s Lottie and I am the latest recruit to the Exmoor Search and Rescue Team! I’m a Working Golden Retriever and, along with my trainee handler Nick, I am just about to start learning the skills to become a Search and Rescue Dog with SARDA England.

I will be starting in the puppy class at my first training weekend at the beginning of August on Dartmoor and training will take us up and down the country every month to areas such as The Lake District, South Wales, The Peak District and North Yorkshire, and we will also be doing some regular training on the team patch here on Exmoor and across to the Quantocks.

Luckily, I’m not alone as there are always new puppies starting their training and also, on Exmoor, there is Poppy, who is a very experienced SARDA dog. I’m sure her handler James will be helping Nick out!

Across the country SARDA dogs provide a highly trained extra resource to mountain rescue teams, helping to look for vulnerable and missing people in all weathers, at all times of day and night.

SARDA dogs are trained primarily as ‘air scenting’ dogs, working across the wind to pick up what’s known as a ‘scent cone’ and gradually working their way into the casualty before indicating their location to their handler by returning and barking.

Once past the puppy class, which covers obedience, agility and being stock-proof, I will start working towards Stage 1 and 2 and, ultimately, Stage 3, training building up the work with ‘dogbodies’ and bigger search areas.

More information on SARDA, the dogs and their training can be found on the website at www.sardaengland.org.uk

Made up entirely of volunteers, the Exmoor Search and Rescue Team provides a Search and Rescue service across large parts of Devon and Somerset. The team assists the Police in locating lost or missing persons and recovering the injured or ill from remote locations as well as working closely with the Fire & Rescue Services and Ambulance Service in the area. Details on the team’s work and recent call outs can be found on the web at www.exmoor-SRT.org.uk and on Exmoor Search and Rescue’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

We’ll be providing an update on training and photos of progress every couple of months, so please watch this space!


If you are a special dog living on Exmoor, the Quantocks or in North Devon and you have a story to share, just get in touch! email editor@exmoormagazine.co.uk