James becomes a qualified Search Dog Handler


Volunteer dog handler James Rudman with his pet Labrador ‘Jake’ have passed national tests to become a qualified Search Dog with Staffordshire Search and Rescue.

James an Environment Health Officer from Little Haywood has raised two-year old Jake, bred from a working line of Field Trail Champions, from a puppy. He has trained Jake three times a week for over three years to qualify as a lowland Search Dog handler. Jake has also passed national obedience tests to demonstrate control off lead, emergency stop at a distance, speak and recall commands and sheep stock tests to prove that that he can work undistracted off the lead around livestock, while searching for missing humans.

Jake is what is known as an air-scenting search dog. With their incredible sense of smell these dogs detect human scent particles riding in the wind on air-currents. The dog will follow the smell to its highest concentration and will bark to alert the handler to the specific location of the casualty. In ideal conditions a dog can pick up a human scent from about 500 metres. The handler and dog work in all types of terrains including remote countryside, farmlands, towns, villages and urban built-up areas.

Staffordshire Search and Rescue is a team of trained and dedicated volunteers who assist the police to search for and bring to safety lost children and missing vulnerable adults. With his amazing speed and agility Jake will assist the rescuers in a range of different scenarios to look for people of all ages and types including lost children, despondent or suicidal adults, and those suffering dementia-related conditions which has resulted in a missing incident because the person has failed to return home.

James is delighted to pass his exams “Qualifying as a Lowland Search Dog handler has taken a huge amount of hard work, commitment and time away from my family training but it is an absolute pleasure working with Labrador Jake. I’m looking forward to using our life-saving skills to search for missing vulnerable people and help bring them to the safety of the emergency services”.

Jake is the rescue team’s third Search Dog. He will be joining Staffordshire first graded handler Dave Barely with border collie ‘Red’ and handler Rob Messenger with border collie ‘Penny’.

If you would like to find out more about the rescue team or to donate please visit www.ssart.org or contact the PR Officer at r.good@ssart.org