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24th Sep 2020

Search and Rescue Dog Jess Reaches New Heights

24th Sep 2020

Search and Rescue Dog Jess Reaches New Heights

by Burns Team Writer

Here’s a story about a dog that is #PoweredByBurns. In May 2019, a father and son were attempting to descend the wrong side of a treacherous ravine on Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, when they got into trouble. They became stuck on bad ground, and any attempt to find their way back proved about as useful as trying to call an Uber. Luckily for them, Border Collie Jess was on the case.

This was the first search for Jess, who’s a big part of the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team in the Lake District. She became graded just last October when she passed her search and rescue dog training and was able to track the walking duo easily. The pair were found quickly and navigated their way down the mountain without a scratch.

Since this first rescue, Jess has become somewhat of a hero. Her second find was at night and involved two walkers who got lost in the vast Quagrigg Moss area of Scafell. Jess and Penny heard their faint shouts and located them near Burnmoor Tarn, one of the largest natural tarns in the Lake District.

Only two days later Jess found another pair of walkers lost deep in a blanket of low mist surrounding the wide area of Caw Fell. When a rescue dog picks up a scent, it’s called a ‘strike,’ and Jess had a good strike which led her over 250 metres and across a stream to find the walkers during the day.

The last two rescues for Jess and Penny were at the height of Summer. At the end of July, a father and his two sons were crossing Broad Crag, the fifth-highest peak in England, during bad weather. The rescue attempt proved so dangerous that it had to be called off. It was due to be resumed at the first sign of light the next day, but thankfully, the family managed to find their way back safely without the help of the team.

In August, Jess and Penny found their latest walker, who had been alone when he lost his balance, stumbled and fell. He had been navigating the rocky descent of Dore Head on Yewbarrow, a fell north of the head of West Water roughly 630 metres high. He was rescued, given first aid, and both Penny and Jess helped him find his way home.

Penny has worked with four other dogs over a thirty-year career and knows the value of good nutrition, which is why dogs like Jess are powered by Burns. Search and rescue dogs in the UK are trained to a high standard. They use their noses to track someone down, bark when they locate them, return to their handlers and bark again to signal that they’ve been found. They’re a blessing in fur and reflective vests, and around the highest peaks of England, they’ll always be called to help.

This isn’t the first-time adventures have gone wrong around Wasdale Head, and it certainly won’t be the last, but for search and rescue dogs like Jess, it’s all in a day’s walk.

Burns loves giving. We support many UK search and rescue organisations with our pet food to increase happy and healthy #PoweredByBurns pets and working dogs, UK-wide.