A Cheshire search and rescue dog who has worked in disaster zones around the world, has been honoured for his devotion to duty.
Border Collie Bryn is the seventh dog to receive the prestigious PDSA Order of Merit.
He has been with handler Steve Buckley since he was just 10 weeks old, working alongside him at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Bryn was amongst the team who worked at the site of the Bosley Mill explosion in 2015, but was also deployed to Japan in 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami, and to Nepal in 2015 following the devastating earthquake which killed and injured thousands.
As well as helping find casualties within disaster areas, Bryn’s skills have also helped reunite families with lost loved ones, allowing them to be laid to rest.
Bryn retired in May 2016 after an 11-year career.
Commenting on the award, Steve said: “Bryn has been a dedicated and exemplary search dog throughout his career. He never wavered from his mission and those working with him had complete faith in his detection skills. His skills have been used to set training standards across the world.
“Dogs like Bryn only come along once in a lifetime and I’m incredibly lucky to have worked beside him for the past 11 years. Receiving the PDSA Order of Merit is a fitting end to his distinguished career. I am so proud of him.”
The PDSA Order of Merit medal was presented by PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin at a ceremony at Manchester Town Hall last night.
Jan said: “I’m proud and honoured to award Bryn his PDSA Order of Merit. His support for teams in dangerous search and rescue situations has made a profound difference to the lives of people across the world. His incredible talent and skills are truly rare.
“Today he joins an honourable line-up of animals that have displayed outstanding devotion and companionship in various walks of life. Although very different, they are all worthy recipients of the PDSA Order of Merit.”
Head of Operational Policy and Assurance at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Gus O’Rourke, added: “Bryn and Steve have been an integral part of our International Search and Rescue Team, always ready to fly out to wherever in the world they were needed. Bryn’s deployments haven’t been without incident; in Japan, where Steve and Bryn went to help in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Bryn received serious life-threatening injuries while searching through the debris. He was treated by a field surgeon for temporary respite until he could get expert veterinary treatment.
“The pair have also been at the forefront of training other dogs and handlers, both nationally and internationally, so the great work done by these teams will continue and evolve. Many, many people the world over owe their survival to the brave, courageous work done by the search and rescue dog teams and I am so proud of both Bryn and Steve for their massive and dedicated contribution. I wish them both a long, healthy and happy retirement.”