Trainee Search Dog Wilson & Handler Sarette

How long have you been a member of the team?
My first session was in September 2013 and I joined the team officially in January 2014.







How and why did you get involved? 
I had some spare time on my hands and wanted to do some volunteering, but wasn’t sure what. I followed a few of the dogs on Twitter and saw tweets asking for people to body for the dogs.  It seemed quite a jolly thing to do – I like the outdoors and I like dogs – so I went to a session at Woodend near Wickham.
What is your role on the team?
Operational support and trainee dog handler.
What’s the most rewarding aspect? 
It’s great to see the dogs work – they obviously love the ‘game’. I’ve learned some valuable skills, met some very nice people, and the work the team does is really worthwhile. It’s a shame the day job gets in the way but it does fund it!
What’s the least enjoyable element? 
Training in the dark, when it’s cold, wet or windy (sometimes all three) can be a bit grim. And you have to get used to cramming all your weekend activities into one day, because the other day is often spent training.
What’s your day job? 
Communications role in the NHS.
Have you got any committee/additional role within the team?
Call-out coordinator. I’m the one who gets to wake everyone up in the middle of the night if the team’s services are requested.
How old and what is Breed is Wilson.
Wilson was born in September 2013. He’s a border collie cross (not sure what with but the consensus is that there’s German shepherd in there somewhere). He was born three days after I attended my first session, and I had no intention of getting a dog at the time.
What’s his favourite toy? 
His search toy is a Kong Wubba. At home he likes anything that squeaks or something he can play a game of tug with.
How long has Wilson been a search dog.
He first came to training informally in May 2014 when he was eight months old. He was made a Level 1 trainee in November that year after attending regularly all that time.
Why did you decide to train Wilson? 
I’d seen the other dogs in training and it was obvious they loved it. The working breeds need mental stimulation every bit as much as physical exercise, and I love seeing Wilson progress and finding people with his nose. He knows exactly what we’re going to do when I pack the car for training, and as soon as he hears his harness bells he gets revved up.