An introduction to Izzy

I was recently asked to take part in writing for the team blog. “what can I write about I asked” the answer was “why do you do it,  what’s your motivation or may be a  personal story”. So I have agreed to try and write about my and Izzy’s journey to become a search dog team and hopefully give you some insight into what it is like to be a dog handler and why we do it. By way of an introduction to me and Izzy I am going to share something I wrote some time ago.

I have been a search and rescue dog handler with ALSAR Search Dogs Sussex for 10 years my first dog was Murphy a little collie cross. He taught me so much about myself and dog training; an amazing little fella. We worked together for 9 years during which time we developed the strongest of bonds. When he had to retire on health grounds it was like losing my right arm. I decided I could never replace him but after several months I missed working a dog soooo very much I decided it was time to search for a dog that could take over from him. The new dog would have some very big shoes to fill and I quite expected to compare them to Murph for years to come – no dog could live up to him !!

So the search began I started scouring rescues for a young female collie. After 6 months the right dog had not come along. Frustrated and somewhat weary from seeing so many dogs that deserved a loving home (I shed many a tear in those 6 months) I started to look for a puppy. There were several litters that I was interested in around Derbyshire so we decided to pack up and have a weeks holiday in Buxton and go puppy hunting.

Whilst there we met Ed, a young breeder of working collies. We were very impressed by this young man and the conditions in which he kept his dogs (you could have eaten your dinner off the kennel floor). When he open the kennel a little red collie came whizzing out and ran round like a little whirl wind (hence Izzy Whizzy). After nearly 2 hours of us grilling poor Ed and watching and playing with the pups we decided she was the one. Izzy came to live with us at 9 weeks old.

As I start writing Izzy is nearly 14 weeks old. All my fears of comparing her to Murphy have not come true. She is such a sweet, mischievous, bold little dog with a character all of her own there is no comparing them they are 2 totally different dogs. Already I love her to bits and she follows me round like my little shadow.

When the Search dogs retire we make a photo book of their working life and present it to their handler. When Muphy retired it was not possible I had spent a great deal of time taking pictures of other dogs and handlers but had very few pictures taken of Murphy and I. I stopped and thought about all the things we had done over the years and was shocked by just how much detail I had forgotten. Not keeping a journal and taking hundreds of pictures is the biggest (and only) regret I have about my time working with Murph. Izzy is still only 14 weeks old and I hope she will turn out to have the temperament and drive to succeed in Search and Rescue but I know there are no guarantees. If she doesn’t we will do something else together ultimately she will chose what she wants to be. But one thing I know is that this time I will keep a journal and take hundreds of pictures.

Izzy went on to be one of the most photographed puppies ever. I have included a few of the pictures taken by the very talented Rhian from Brighton Dog Photography http://brightondogphotography.co.uk/