It's been a tragic week or so for the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs Association. One of our most experienced dog handlers and an extraordinary man, David Watt, died in a accident while piloting his own aircraft. His funeral is later this week.
Twenty four hours prior to this tragedy, search dog Beinn, a brilliant dog with many finds to his credit, died unexpectedly at home. He was only 6.
As my readers know, I help out as a 'dogsbody' for the Association (I lie about on the fells to give the dogs someone to find when they are training). Doing this I have come to appreciate the strength of the bond between handler and dog and the enormous committment the handlers make, both to the Mountain Rescue part and to the Search Dogs part.
So, if I may make a gentle plea: If you're up in the Lakes and see a Mountain Rescue Search Dogs box - do pop a coin or two in. The money goes to help train the next Beinn.
A memorial walk for David was held on Saturday along Mickleden Beck in the Langdales. If you'd been planning a quiet walk there, you'd have been disappointed. You would have met about 65 MR people and 46 dogs! The sight of them all (dogs, not people) charging after a tennis ball was something to see. Astonishingly, during the minute's silence, the dogs fell silent too. They are special animals.
To finish on a positive note. Roger, Beinn's handler, is planning to train another dog.