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Search dog Diesel retires after years of helping out in aftermath of major accidents

A springer spaniel has hung up his protective boots and “doggles” after almost a decade helping to save lives.

Diesel, a search and rescue dog, has been called into action more than 300 times to help communities across Scotland and abroad over the last eight years.

The dog joined the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue team in 2012 and then the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in 2015, but has now officially retired.

Diesel was trained to use his nose to move quickly through collapsed buildings or across wide areas of land to detect the scent of an injured or trapped survivor in the aftermath of major accidents.

Based in Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, Diesel has latterly worked alongside his handler Gary Carroll who is a crew commander with the fire service.

The pair were deployed to Nepal in 2015 as part of the UK’s search team after an earthquake hit the region and thousands died.

Reflecting on their time together, Mr Carroll said they had “a great working relationship”.

He said: “I’ve had him since the day he was born and have been able to watch him grow into an incredible search dog.

“When we’ve attended incidents he’s always checking that I am OK, in the same way that I have done with him.”

Diesel has retired from the fire service after eight years.

Mr Carroll added that Diesel has been a “real asset” by searching large areas in a short time.

He said: “By doing this he’s able to help ascertain whether someone is within the search area – and, if not, then we can quickly move the focus onto another search area.”

Four-year-old English springer spaniel Mac, who has been an operational search dog with the national service since October, will now take over the reins.

Chief officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Martin Blunden, said Diesel was an important part of the team.

Mr Blunden said: “Even though he sees searching as a game, he’s dedicated a large part of his life to helping people when they are in need and that should be commended.

“I’d also like to thank Gary and his family for the hard work and time they have put in to training both Diesel and Mac.”

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