Ex-handlers and regular Dogsbodies Hilary and Chris Malyon with trainee trailing dog Venn are joined by trainee trailing dog, Bryn and handler Paul, front, with HF Dolserau manager Wayne Leslie

Ex-handlers and regular Dogsbodies Hilary and Chris Malyon with trainee trailing dog Venn are joined by trainee trailing dog, Bryn and handler Paul, front, with HF Dolserau manager Wayne Leslie

Dogsbodies helping a search charity will benefit from a cash boost from walking and outdoor provider HF Holidays.

Search and Rescue Dogs Association Wales has received £5,000 from the organisation, which will be used to equip volunteers who act as human targets for the animals.

Tim Sherlock, chair of Sarda Wales, the voluntary organisation that trains and operates search dogs for use with search and rescue operations in mountain, rural and urban settings, said the Dogsbodies spend long periods waiting to be found by the four-legged searchers.

“To create realistic scenarios for search-dog training, volunteer human targets, our Dogsbodies, sit out for many hours at a time, awaiting discovery.

“Waiting long periods of time in a mountainous environment can be an uncomfortable experience for the unprepared, so to keep our Bodies safe, we provide them with waterproofs, a mat to sit on, a waterproof bivvy bag to lie in, a rucksack to carry it all in, and a VHF radio so we can contact them, even when they are in hiding.

“A training weekend would typically see eight to 10 Bodies helping out each day, so we need to hold a large supply of kit, and it all needs to be in tip-top condition. Equipment such as this is easily damaged in the environments to which it is put, and replacement is an ongoing expense.

“The donation from HF holidays will provide five complete new sets of Dogsbody equipment.

Mr Sherlock said there was another equipment need. “On a number of recent searches, dog teams have found themselves working on the water’s edge during riverbank searches, and this has raised questions over water safety. The donation will provide two lightweight lifejackets for use by dog handlers when deployed in these circumstances.

“Like many other organisations, our usual fundraising activities over the last couple of years were largely curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, yet the need for search dogs has remained throughout. We know that there are many equally deserving charities looking for funding and as such are particularly grateful that HF chose to support us.”

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