The Devon and Cornwall Police force are reportedly the first police force in the UK to train the Springer spaniel dog breed for search and rescue operations.
Inspector Andrew Lilburn, acting as spokesperson for the force, told the Telegraph that three Springer spaniels, purchased from a local dog breeder, started work this July and it has been a success. The spaniels are perfectly suited to the rural terrain in the area and he added;
“Our existing general purpose dogs are fantastic at what they do but vulnerable people are often scared when confronted by a German shepherd dog. These lost person search dogs have no other skills and are pure specialists in finding people who are lost.”
Rescue dogs are used to find lost walkers on the moors, runaway young people, those who intend to harm themselves and vulnerable people such as the elderly with dementia who may have wandered away from home.
The dogs are trained to recognise human scent, bark when they find the person and run back and forth between their dog handler and the person to lead the handler to them.
I’m sure Springer spaniels make great rescue dogs, and it is no doubt true they may be perceived as less scary by the vulnerable, but personally, if I were lost I wouldn’t care which dog breed found me – although this picture of the Springer spaniel courtesy of the Telegraph doesn’t help their case as being less scary.