A report on the Albany Stirling Range Search by the SES Search Dog Unit.
Just a week and a half after 2 more search dogs had passed their assessment a call went out for a search in the Stirling Ranges near Albany. Two search dog teams were deployed there (Rani and Francis as well as Daisy and Peter) and were accompanied by two people from the Kalamunda unit who would act as support for the teams. The Stirling ranges in all their splendour and beauty (From afar) is not used by the SAS (not the SES) for their selection course – the ground is steep and the bush is heavy and dense. The locals (Being spiders, goannas, snakes, roo’s and emu’s are a plenty.
The teams left Perth on Tuesday morning at 5 am and arrived on location shortly before noon, ready to start their searches whilst under the watchful eyes of the local press and media. For operational reasons we cannot comment on the actual search however we can say that the training we have previously done in areas around Brigadoon was very welcome as they gave us the basic knowledge we would need to work on the steep slopes. The weather was fortunately with us and the first two days it wasn’t too warm and there was a light breeze Thursday the temperature went up to close to the 30 degrees C.
Despite the harsh terrain to work in the food and accommodation side of things was 5 star and with early nights there were plenty of opportunities to sleep and recover. A very interesting experience was to see how Daisy was working with a muzzle on due to the area being one of those where fox-bait is being used to control the fox population in the area the DEC had recommended the dogs be working with a muzzle, which they have not yet tried. Can only say that it was a positive experience to see that Daisy did indeed work very well even with this muzzle on and that she had ample room for her mouth to open to drink water.
The experience has certainly left us with a good experience of how to work in difficult terrain, how to work alongside other units as well as having helicopters working close by and seeing whether this would distract or have little influence on how the dogs work which fortunately it did not.
Report and pictures by Peter from the Search Dog Unit
Some pictures from the search
For more information of the SES search Dog Unit see http://searchdogsatwork.blogspot.com/