Three English Springer Spaniels have joined the Fire Services Department (FSD) in its search and rescue missions since last year, and have been highly praised by the officers for their dedication and performance, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The department owned two Labrador Retrievers, donated by the China Earthquake Administration in 2010.
But as they turn eight years old this year, they have to be retired from the force and replaced.
That’s why the FSD acquired three English Springer Spaniels from the United Kingdom for HK$290,000 to help with the department’s work.
Named Jack, Judy and Spike, the medium-sized dogs joined the FSD’s Mountain Search and Rescue Team that was established last year.
Cheung Kwong-yuen, assistant divisional officer at the FSD, said the department chose English Springer Spaniels because their smaller size makes it easier for them to gain access to places in the mountains or scrubby areas that are hard for rescuers to reach by foot.
Jack’s handler said the dog is very good at discerning different smells after being trained, praising it for being a good partner during rescue operations.
In 2017 alone, the three dogs participated in 17 search missions in the mountains.
Jack’s handler recalled that he took the dog to the mountains in Sham Tseng in March last year to look for an old man suffering from dementia.
Although Jack did not find the subject, he said the dog’s fast and wide-range searches helped rescuers to focus on a smaller area, leading them to locate the man two days later.
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