While away on holiday in Spain, our team secretary Caitriona, stopped in to visit a local search team.
Some pics of the Spanish search dog group I spent a few days with in Spain. They are part of the Burgos cave and mountain rescue team. Nice group . Their building is a Ministry of Defence building , great set up with 40 beds and kennels in a separate building.
Most of the dogs stay at the base though some don’t .Some of the handlers live an hour away but there is nearly always someone there to look after dogs, let them out .
Some of the dogs were on a call out while I was there , they face the same problems we sometimes do, they were called 3 days after woman went missing. Also, amount they are called can depend on Police personnel who are in charge and who they have already made contact with.
They attended an exercise in Portugal earlier in the week with other teams, there were mock disasters / injuries set up . Actors played the part of casualties , so it was quite realistic .
Most of their dogs are Belgian Malinois and some Shepard’s. Simon would be pleased to hear they have a little rocket of an American bulldog who works really well.They do a lot of rubble work and so do agility with most of their dogs. They have some labs that they have trained as Therapy dogs, a few of the handlers focus on this and regularly take the dogs to old peoples homes and to care homes for people with physical and mental disabilities. One of the handlers is training a dog for a child who has diabetes to detect the onset of drop in sugar levels . One difference I noticed was he way the reward the Belgian Malinois, rather than play with the dog , the dog is offered a thick foot long piece of stuffed canvas to latch on to. They hold it and that’s it .
They have a food kitchen and a first aid room for the dogs, complete with operating table and lights and all sorts of equipment. It was given to them by the city hospital when they moved to another site. Two of the members are veterinary nurses.
Lovely group of people, they put a lot of time in.