Mountain Dog earns recognition for almost 200 rescues in 11 years of service.

A RETIRED search dog is being honored for his service as the UK’s longest-running mountain rescue dog.
Skye, a border collie, retired in 2020 at the age of 14 after doing 200 searches in the Lake District during her 11-year career.

Skye will be awarded the PDSA Order of Merit, popularly known as a “animal OBE,” in honour of her efforts.

Skye spent her whole career searching for the missing with her handler, 49-year-old John Leadbetter, in all types of weather.
The dedicated canine started her career with the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team as a puppy. She then worked as a trained and graded searchdog for Duddon and Furness MRT before moving on to Langdale and Ambleside MRT and finally Kendal MRT.

Skye means everything to me; we’ve been friends our whole lives, and she’s my best buddy on the fells.

“Watching her receive the PDSA Order of Merit is truly humbling and touching, and it’s wonderful recognition of the time and hard work that search dogs and their teams devote to mountain safety.”
She has guarded and assisted those in peril during her long and illustrious career, but she has also worked as an ambassador, collecting funds and drawing attention to vital issues.

Skye is the 36th animal to earn a PDSA Order of Merit award, which was established by the organization in 2014 to reward animals for their great contributions to society.

According to PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin, “we are incredibly proud to be honoring Skye with our PDSA Order of Merit.”
“We believe that this is a fitting tribute to her lifetime of dedication and hard work,” the statement said, “because of her exceptional skills and exceptional devotion that goes above and beyond ordinary companionship.”

“She has not only protected and assisted those in need over the course of her long and illustrious career, but her work as an ambassador has also significantly increased awareness of the amazing work that these Mountain Rescue teams do and helped to raise significant funds.”

Skye began her training as a puppy with the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team. She was subsequently certified by the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dog Association.
She searched across the Lake District, as well as Lancashire, the Pennines, and Scotland.

She is nearly 16 years old and is now living with Mr. Leadbetter and his family in her retirement years. They note that she still enjoys being outdoors on the hills and fells, but at a slower pace.

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