Time to Hang up the Collar

jarleth Dog hugo2 (2)

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

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Helicopter training with Air Corps

Heli training with Air CorpHeli training with Air CorpRecently 2 of our Search Dog teams Pauliina and Koiru and Catherine and Lily attended helicopter training with the Air Corps. Here is a report from Pauliina:


The Air Corps lads had prepared the day thoroughly and knew exactly what they wanted to do. There were a number of drills for embarking/disembarking for MR team, for MR team carrying a stretcher, and for SARDA handlers getting on and off the aircraft with the dogs. After the initial classroom presentation, we went through the drills both in daylight and after dark. Read More

Collections and Questions

On Saturday January 11th we descended on Cork city and surrounding areas for our yearly Street Collection. As every year the collection is organised by Don Murphy. The weather gods were smiling on us. The morning started of cold and crisp but turned into a lovely winters days. We had people collecting in St. Patrick Street, Wilton, Blackpool, Douglas and Bishopstown shopping centres. As the people of cork come out in to the busy areas of the city their generosity was not far behind them. Everyone we met gave what they could afford and I’m sure in some circumstances they gave more. Read More

Scout and About

We were contacted by the 6th Cavan Scouts in Kingscourt. Their project this year is to train their senior scouts in lowland search and rescue. They are using the methods used by Kent lowland SAR in the UK. They will be the first and only scout group in Ireland to achieve the award and if it is successful they hope that it will be adopted nationally as a scouting option. As part of the scouts experience they were hoping to be able to be introduced to a handler and dog from SARDA – and give a short informal talk about our work. They are aiming to inspire the scouts to consider undertaking similar work themselves when they are older and they hope that once the scouts reach ventures age they will be available for call out in the local area if required by the Gardai. Read More

Multi Agency Training Exercise


IMG_8045Dexter and Gerry took part in a multi-agency exercise at Waterford Airport yesterday evening(Sat.). Order of Malta simulated an air crash with multiple casualties and Coast Guard and HSE staff and ambulances were deployed to cope with the exercise casualties. Triage stations and evacuation of casualties were the order of the day with large numbers of rescue personnel involved including the Coast Guard Heli(117).The airport was closed during the exercise and Dex and Gerry were tasked to locate an exercise casualty who had gone missing. We were accompanied by a team of five people while we searched around the perimeter of the buildings and the apron at the airport and found the casualty within a short while hiding under an oil tank at the back of the heli base. Dex didn`t let the noise of the helicopter, smell of aviation fuel or oil distract him, which is lucky considering Gerry was extremely distracted!! Everyone seemed to be pleased with Dexter`s work and had loads of questions about how we train our dogs.

We hope to continue with these type of exercises in the future.

Caitriona meets Spanish Search Dogs

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 jodie & caitrionaDefence 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 . Read More