A former rescue dog from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home who last month helped with one of Kent’s largest missing people searches has been credited with transforming his owners’ lives.
Bryn the Border Collie puppy arrived at Battersea in January 2006, after his owner became ill, and he was rehomed by Jo and Stuart Kenny from Ashford, Kent. The trio are now an operational search and rescue dog team with the Kent-based charity NSARDA CanTech. They regularly look for vulnerable missing persons, and are called upon by Kent Search and Rescue, who work with Kent Police and other emergency services.
Last month they helped with a huge search to find 71 year old Bryn Mellor, who went missing from a care home in Sturry, near Canterbury in Kent, suffering from dementia and a heart condition. The operation involved more than 60 police officers and volunteers from Kent Search And Rescue searching for three days, using a helicopter and resources from other search teams from outside of Kent.
Jo explains: “We were out every night, and searched fields and orchards covering 6km in just two hours on one night trying to find Mr Mellor. It was one of the longest searches we have been involved with recently, and luckily Mr Mellor was found in a garden, and everyone was incredibly relieved. We were very pleased to have played a part in the search, and our search dog Bryn did a fantastic job.”
On a rescue mission Bryn sniffs the air to follow the scent of the missing person, and will return and bark at his handler Jo if he thinks he has found them, before leading them to where the missing person is located.
As well as their voluntary work, Jo is a Senior Probation Officer and Stuart runs an IT company. Stuart credits Bryn with changing their lives, and opening up a new world of search of rescue. He explains: “Before we got Bryn from Battersea we would never have considered we would be rushing off at a moment’s notice to comb the fields, forests, villages and towns of Kent for someone who is lost. It is a phenomenal experience working with Bryn, and he has transformed our lives.”
Stuart says anyone interested in working with their dog, or doing obedience or agility, should consider a Battersea dog, and visit the charity’s Kent-based centre in Brands Hatch. He says: “Rescue dogs are not second hand or inferior, and Bryn is the best advert to show what they can do. We also have a Hovawart called Sky who is a pedigree dog I am currently training with. This clearly demonstrates pedigree or rescue is irrelevant. Bryn is a super search dog and hopefully Sky will be too.”
Battersea Brands Hatch Centre Manager Richard King adds: “Here at Battersea Brands Hatch we’re very proud of Bryn. All of our dogs change people’s lives in their own way, but Bryn is a shining example of what our dogs can achieve.”
In Kent an average of 1,800 people go missing every year and a small proportion of these need Kent Search And Rescue and NSARDA CanTech’s help. “There is a very serious side to our work, but it is also incredibly rewarding,” Jo says. “We love working with Bryn and seeing what he can do. The search dog and their amazing sense of smell makes them an invaluable resource as they can do the work of 20-25 people searching on foot.”
If you are interested in rehoming a dog from Battersea Brands Hatch please call 01474 875106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org