It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of search and rescue dog, Bryn.
Bryn, a 15-year-old border collie, passed away at the weekend.
Bryn and his handler, retired firefighter Steve Buckley, have travelled the world to help in disaster areas. Their partnership began after Steve, who was also a member of the UK international search and rescue (UKISAR) team, saw search dogs in action for the first time following the Gujarat, India, earthquake in 2001.
When he returned to the UK, Steve put a case together for Cheshire to have a search and rescue dog, which was accepted by the then Chief Fire Officer. An ideal dog, Bryn, was eventually found after a West Midlands lady offered one of a litter to the Service. By the time he was 12 months old, Bryn was loving the intensive training for his role in rescuing living people from disaster areas.
He became UKISAR graded in 2005 which meant he could go out on search and rescue missions with the teams. He has been deployed on operations to India, Sumatra, Japan and Nepal as well as being on the dog and handler assessment team travelling to America, Argentina, Romania, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Bryn and Steve have been widely recognised as one of the best dog and handler teams in the country. Throughout their active careers, they were also deployed across the UK, assisting with searches at building collapses, gas explosions and missing persons’ cases.
Bryn was injured when he was in Japan, cutting his paw, despite wearing special protection boots, as he was searching through the tsunami debris. Although there was no vet with the team, UKISAR’s medical director was able to super-glue and bandage Bryn’s leg so he could continue to work. The incident made headlines around the world.
Retiring from active service in 2015, Bryn was awarded the PDSA Order of Merit, the animal equivalent of the OBE, in 2017 for his outstanding devotion to duty.
Chief Fire Officer Mark Cashin paid tribute to Bryn: “Bryn was a valued member of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service for 11 years. He was renowned throughout the search and rescue world for his dedication and devotion to duty and to Steve. They had a unique bond and our thoughts go out to Steve and his family who I know are devastated by the loss of Bryn.”