A RETIRED SEARCH DOG, WHO WAS SAID TO BE THE UK’S LONGEST SERVING MOUNTAIN RESCUE CANINE, HAS BEEN HONORED FOR HER EFFORT.
Skye, a border collie, worked in the Lake District for 11 years before retiring in 2020 at the age of 14.
Skye will be awarded the PDSA Order of Merit, popularly known as a “animal OBE,” in recognition of her efforts.
Skye and her handler, John Leadbetter, 49, looked for missing individuals in all weather situations during her service.
As a puppy, the dedicated canine joined the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team. She then worked with Duddon and Furness MRT as a trainee and graded searchdog before moving on to Langdale and Ambleside MRT and, lastly, Kendal MRT.
“Skye means everything to me; she’s my best friend on the fells, and we’re life-long partners,” Mr Leadbetter went on to say.
“Seeing her receive the PDSA Order of Merit is truly humbling and touching, and it’s a wonderful recognition of the time and hard work that search dogs and their teams devote to mountain safety.”
Her lengthy and illustrious career has seen her not only guard and assist persons in danger, but also generate finances and increase awareness through her ambassadorial efforts.
Skye is the 36th animal to be awarded the PDSA Order of Merit, which was established in 2014 to honor animals for their exceptional contributions to society.
“We are extremely pleased to bestow the PDSA Order of Merit on Skye,” said Jan McLoughlin, director general of the PDSA.
“Her exceptional skills and devotion that extends above and beyond ordinary companionship make her a very deserving recipient, and we believe this is a fitting tribute to her lifetime of commitment and hard work.”
“Her long and distinguished career has seen her not only protect and assist people in danger, but her ambassadorial work has also helped to raise important funds and raise awareness of the incredible work that these Mountain Rescue teams perform.”
Skye began her training with the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team as a puppy before joining the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dog Association.
She searched in the Lake District, Lancashire, the Pennines, and Scotland.
She is now over 16 years old and spends her retirement with Mr Leadbetter and his family, who report she still enjoys being out on the hills and fells, albeit at a slower pace.