A conveyancing assistant in Spratt Endicott Solicitors’ Buckingham office has committed to joining Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue (OxSAR), as she embarks on a period of extensive training to become a Search Technician, along with her dog who is in training as a Trailing Search Dog.
Jacqueline Stanley, who assists the conveyancing team in Spratt Endicott’s Buckingham office, and her dog – a Black and Tan Coonhound called Ernie – have signed up to OxSAR, a volunteer Lowland Rescue team working with Thames Valley Police to find vulnerable missing people in Oxfordshire.
The pair are now undergoing a broad range of training to become fully qualified members of the team, as part of a new national initiative called Search Dog Heroes, run by Lowland Rescue in partnership with the charity Missing People.
Search Dog Heroes is being made possible by People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund, which is annually awarded to charities for collaborative and innovative projects to support people in the UK and abroad.
Jackie said: “We’re so grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for this support. Training with OxSAR can be an expensive business due to the high standards that are required, so the funding really is invaluable in ensuring we get to cover off everything that’s needed.”
OxSAR is one of 35 Lowland Rescue teams based in the UK and deploys on behalf of the Police to search for high risk vulnerable missing people. Receiving around 60 calls a year, OxSAR – deploys to both urban and rural areas using a number of search assets. OxSAR is one of the busiest Search and Rescue units in the UK. Currently consisting of about 60 operational members, the team are available 24/7, 365 days of the year.
Jackie Stanley said of joining: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be undertaking my training. The initial catalyst was Ernie’s search abilities – but having learned more and more about the organisation, it’s been really inspiring to hear about the work that OxSAR do and I’m so excited to be joining and helping out myself.”
Black and Tan Coonhounds are a rare breed in the UK, with around 70 currently registered, having only made the import register in 2018. But while Coonhounds have specific traits that help with searches, the dogs used by Lowland Rescue come from a real array of breeds, with all sorts of dog types suited to the task.
Jackie said of Ernie’s training: “Having to train myself as well as Ernie, effectively means double the training – but it’s certainly worth the effort so far and Ernie is loving the challenge. His trainer comes over from France, and she’s tasked with training international rescue dogs – so you can appreciate the standard of the training involved. OxSAR, despite being a voluntary organisation, are trained to professional standards – and are prepared to search waterways, forests and even use drones to help find people.”
Jackie added: ‘I’d also like to thank my employers, Spratt Endicott, who have been extremely supportive and really accommodating with my training. They have also said they’re happy to let me go out on searches as and when required – so I’ll be able to help out at short notice, which is great!
Michael Weightman, Residential Property Manager at Spratt Endicott, commented on Jackie’s commitment to OxSAR: “Jackie’s dedication to her training really is wonderful to see. She’s taken to it with great gusto, and we wish her and Ernie all the best. We are fully supporting this great opportunity that gives something back to the community. OxSAR is an excellent organisation and we’re proud that a member of our team is playing a part in what they do.”
James Keatley of OxSAR said: “We are very proud to be a part of Search Dogs Heroes and we are all looking forward to seeing Ernie’s progress. Trailing dogs are another highly valuable asset we are delighted to be adding to our team”.
To find out more about OxSAR, please visit the website: http://oxsar.org.uk/