Mountain dog receives an award for more than 200 rescues in 11 years of service

Mountain dog receives an award for more than 200 rescues in 11 years of service

A retired search dog named Skye, a border collie, is being recognized for her exceptional service in mountain rescues. Over the course of her 11-year career in the Lake District, Skye carried out an impressive 200 searches before retiring at the age of 14 in 2020.

In acknowledgment of her efforts, Skye will be awarded the PDSA Order of Merit, often referred to as an ‘animal OBE’. Skye and her handler, John Leadbetter, tirelessly searched for missing individuals in all types of weather conditions during her service.

Starting her career as a puppy with the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, Skye later trained with Duddon and Furness MRT as a search dog before moving on to Langdale and Ambleside MRT, and eventually Kendal MRT. Skye holds a special place in Mr. Leadbetter’s heart, being his best friend and lifelong partner on the fells.

Skye’s contributions went beyond rescues, as she also served as an ambassador, raising vital funds and promoting awareness. She is the 36th animal to be awarded the PDSA Order of Merit, which was established in 2014 to honor animals for their remarkable contributions to society.

PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin expressed pride in honoring Skye with the prestigious award, highlighting her exceptional skills and dedication that went above and beyond ordinary companionship. Skye’s long and distinguished career not only protected and aided people in danger but also raised crucial funds and awareness for Mountain Rescue teams.

After her retirement, Skye, now almost 16, is enjoying her time with Mr. Leadbetter and his family. Despite her slower pace, she still relishes being out on the hills and fells.

Nghia Pham