In memory of our dear friend and colleague Caitríona, who died tragically whilst on duty as a Coast Guard volunteer.
We wish to convey our deepest sympathy to her husband Bernard Lucas, also a former SARDA member, and to their children Ben and Emma. Caitríona was the secretary of SARDA Ireland for 3 years. She was also a fully qualified search dog handler and assisted with numerous callouts with her search dog Zac. As part of her dedicated professionalism, Caitríona attended many national and international events.
Caitríona was a friend and colleague to our members and those of other SAR teams striving to help people in need. Passionate about search and rescue, she encouraged others and was a tireless example for those training their own dogs or assisting other handlers. She demonstrated a selfless caring attitude towards humans and animals, and as a volunteer she always gave full commitment in all weathers.
It is with great sadness that I have to let you all know that a superstar has left us. She will be missed by everyone in SARDA IRELAND. We are sharing this lovely tribute to Lily from Catherine:
Sadly Lily has passed away this evening after a short illness.
Lily was a SARDA dog since 2006 and qualified as a search dog going on the call out list in 2009. She assisted in numerous searches during her 6 years of service. She attended training courses in the Lake District, UK as well as numerous training courses in avalanche searching in the Cairngorms of Scotland on the Lake District Search Dogs annual courses held there. She worked closely with Ballycotton Coastguard Team and Kerry Mountain Rescue Team. Foremost she was a family member and much loved friend and will be very sorely missed. She was just 10 years young and achieved so much in those 10 years and I am extremely proud that it was I that was lucky enough to be her handler.
Lily, forever searching the hills for the toy ( and hopefully it’s a squeaky one ! )
Our public relations officer Ben Bryan was chatting to Tom MacSweeney on his programme ‘This Island Nation’ on Monday about SARDA search dogs. You can listen to the interview on the link here (from 4:50 until 12:00 in the audio clip)
SARDA dog Lily and handler Catherine Kelly took part in a training exercise with Kerry Mountain Rescue Team last night. The scenario involved a search for an injured walker in a wooded area in Glengeenty.
The search dog found the missing person about 20 minutes after the search commenced – a great result. The ‘casualty’ was then stretchered to safety from the steep area where he had fallen. Well done to Lily and Catherine! Thanks to KMRT for inviting SARDA to join them on a very useful exercise.
Four SARDA members did the ‘Mountain Skills 1’ training course in Kerry over the weekend.
It was a very thorough and practical course with lots of navigation exercises on the hills near the Gap of Dunloe. Our expert instructor was John Healy of Simply Mountains. Thanks John! Thanks also to our training officer Catherine Kelly for organising this great weekend.
After many years of loyal service our beloved Hugo has decide it is time to hang up the collar, put the rescue jacket away and live a well-deserved life in retirement. Hugo has been with SARDA for the last 8 years. In the last 2 years he has assisted in 10 searches. Hugo was not only a star on the hills but also on the big screen with Jarlath playing best support, appeared in a film by Niamh O`Riordan aptly named Rescue Me. In the film it focuses on the relationship between two of the rescue team members, Jarlath and Hugo, and how the bond between man and his dog can ultimately, save a life and anyone who knows the pair will know there is an unbreakable bond between the two. Hugo constantly has one eye on Jarlath waiting for the next command or instruction.
A tireless little worker who likes nothing more than to get out on the hills, not even fazed by a group of young scouts in Cavan, when demonstrating how a search and rescue dog is trained. The scouts were in awe when they had tried their best to hide but Hugo managed to sniff them out.
Recently Jarlath brought Hugo to the vet as he was limping badly this past while following the last training session. After the results of X-rays it was found that Hugo was suffering from osteoarthritis in his front legs, joints and elbow and an unstable cruciate ligament in his front leg. The best advice of the Vet was to retire from Search and Rescue and to treat him with anti-inflammatories
Hugo, along with Jarlath, are active members with Galway Mountain Rescue Team and I am sure that they will miss him as much as we will. And we have been informed by Jarlath that with the recent good weather Hugo has taken to the life of retirement very easily.
From everyone in SARDA past and present, we wish Hugo all the best in retirement and hope to see him out for a visit along with Boss on training weekends
SARDA handlers Catherine Kelly and Gerry Tobin carried out a joint exercise with Kerry Mountain Rescue Team on Wednesday evening. The exercise took place in the Slieve Mish mountains on the Dingle Peninsula and involved a scenario with a missing hill walker