Our USAR dogs are primary family members who work for the Service on a full time basis. They are only stationed at a fire and rescue station during the handler’s shifts. At all other times the dogs are at home with their handler and are on call 24/7 via a pager system to respond to all incidents which require his specialist capability.

Maya

Elliot

Abby

USAR Dog Abbey

Gemma

USAR Dog Gemma

Elliot

USAR Dog Elliot

Our most recent Urban Search and Rescue Dogs are shown below:

Maya (2009 – present day)

Maya was a rescued dog that became good. Her handler rescued her from Wiccaways (a Border Collie rescue centre in Northants) at the age of six months. The only history that we know about Maya is that she was abandoned and left tight up outside a veterinary practice in Northamptonshire. Maya is a extremely focused and is an amazing search and rescue dog. Her role consists of the following:

  • Supporting the Service for Technical Rescue and Urban Search and Rescue activates in the whole of the UK.
  • Being a part of the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue Team for international deployments worldwide.
  • Supporting Leicestershire Police for missing person’s searches.

Maya has been deployed to a number of incidents, just like Abby, and has many successful outcomes in supporting the emergency agencies that she has worked for.

Abby (2007 – present day)

Abby was selected from a breeder in Ipswich as a puppy. She took to her training like a duck to water and we have never looked back. Abby’s role consist of the following:

  • Supporting the Service for Technical Rescue and Urban Search and Rescue activates in the whole of the UK.
  • Being a part of the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue Team for international deployments worldwide.
  • Supporting Leicestershire Police for missing person’s searches.

Abby has been deployed to a number of incidents in the UK and internationally for European Exercises and deployments. One of her highlights was being deployed to the Nepal earthquake in 2015.

Gemma (1996-2014)

Gemma passed away at the grand age of 18 years and 5 months. She was an extraordinary search and rescue dog and a very special companion. Gemma and her handler would rarely be sperated, until her retirement in 2009. She continued to come to work still thinking she was operational, until she realised she could have a lay in! She would then open up her eyes and acknowledge my presence before going back to sleep, especially if it was an early morning start, whilst Abby and Maya would be running around waiting to get out the door. Here are just a few of her milestones in her life:

  • Picked up by Chris Pritchard (her handler) out of a box of yellow Labradors at nine weeks old in a North Wales dog rescue home
  • Travelled and worked on five continents
  • Deployed to several major earthquakes
  • Awarded a global award for her work in Washington DC USA
  • Ten year Long Service Award from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Attended numerous incidents in the UK, one of these being the Glasgow factory gas explosion
  • Attended many station open days and national events
  • She was instrumental in training numerous handlers, USAR technicians and firefighters from many different fire and rescue services and international teams in the use of dogs in Urban Search and Rescue work.

In simple terms, Gemma was the dog that any handler would strive to own. She was a natural search dog and a dream to work with. She was one in a million and will be sadly missed by all of our family.

Elliott ET (1993 – 2009)

Elliott, who set the standard for other dogs to follow, was Chris Pritchard’s (our search and rescue dog handler) first USAR K9 and was operational not just with Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, but also in his early days with a NGO called RAPIDUK. Elliott was the first official USAR graded dog to be deployed outside of the UK to a major earthquake in 1999 in Columbia, South America. Elliott was one of the first official fire and rescue service search dogs to be nationally recognised for international work. He assisted in the training and education of the FRSs in the capability of USAR dogs, which set the foundations for the implementation of USAR dog teams into the UK FRS. Elliott was awarded a number of animal charity medals for the work that he carried out.

Start typing and press Enter to search