Dog sniffs out well-earned job for rescue team

Border collie Tess, the newest operational member of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, with her handler Brian Allport.

Border collie Tess, the newest operational member of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, with her handler Brian Allport.

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Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team has welcomed a new member to the team – one with four legs and a wagging tail.

Two-year-old Border collie Tess recently passed a gruelling three-day search-and-rescue assessment in the Peak District.

Following that success, she is now an operational member of the team and will be responding to emergencies.

Dog handler Brian Allport said: “Tess is a fantastic dog skilled in searching for missing people.

“She is trained to detect the scent of a person and then follow that scent to its source.

“Once located, she will return to me, indicate by barking and lead me back to the lost person.

“Once we have the location of the missing person we can alert the rest of the team and get the person the help they need.”

Tess’ parents are both operational search-and-rescue dogs – dad Fly is with the Cockermouth team and mum Bess with the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team.

Her brother, Blitz, has also joined the family trade and passed his assessment, which usually takes around two years of training, alongside his sister.

Team leader Iain Nixon said: “Dogs are an integral part of mountain rescue. In the period 2007 to 2014, they found 132 missing people in England.

“They can search large areas of land much quicker than we humans can, especially at night when they can still use their noses and we can’t use our eyes.”

The rescue team’s operational area covers a total of 2,159 square miles, which includes the whole of Northumberland.