L3 Search Dog Oppo & Handler Bug

How long have you been involved with HSAR Dogs and what is your role?
Since January 2013. I’m a Level 3 Dog Handler and Swift Water Rescue Technician.


How and why did you get involved?
I love the outdoors and have always wanted to be involved in Search and Rescue; it’s a great way of giving something back to the community.
What are the most and least rewarding aspects of being part of the team?
The most rewarding is knowing you’ve done your best on a search. As for least rewarding, I’m a mountain leader and I spent 35 years in the Royal Navy so getting out of bed at 4am for a search when it’s wet and cold is not an issue. It is hard on my wife though, especially if it’s on the only day in the week when we can have a lie in.
What’s your day job?
I run my own company delivering personal development in the outdoors (mountaineering, navigation and leadership training; mountain bike coaching; and expedition leadership). It’s the best job in the world as I’m my own boss, and I get paid to lead month-long expeditions to places like the Indian Himalayas or Peruvian Andes.
Any additional skills?
As a mountain leader, I bring a lot of outdoor experience and skills to the team, and also discipline, values and ethos from the Navy. I’m also a Remote Emergency Care First Aider, and qualified as a Swiftwater Rescue Technician in October 2014.
Any additional roles within the team?
I’m the Training Officer, and the navigation trainer/assessor.
Age and breed of your dog?
Oppo is a working English Springer Spaniel who was born on Hayling Island in May 2011.  Unfortunately he lost his tail in the course of duty – he was docked in January 2015 due to constant tail tip damage!
His favourite toy?
His special search toy is a Kong Wubba which he loves best when it’s covered in mud and slobber. At home he’s got a smaller Kong – but he gets as much pleasure from a pillow case with a knot in it!
How long has Oppo been in training?
He started training as a Level 1 dog in October 2013 and passed Level 2 Assessment on the first attempt in Jun 2015.
Why did you decide to train Oppo?
Not surprisingly he’s got loads of energy but Search and Rescue work exercises his brain too. He’s also very intelligent, has a good nose, is a great worker, and loves getting wet and muddy.
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