Rescue dog who has saved at least ten lives during a lengthy career is honoured by the PDSA with a special commendation.

A Fife-based search and rescue dog who has performed hundreds of rescues and saved at least ten lives has been awarded one of the PDSA’s highest honours.

Eight-year-old collie Driesh was presented with a PDSA commendation at a special presentation at RAF Leuchars yesterday (September 5, 2013).

The PDSA commendation is part of the veterinary charity’s Animal Bravery Awards programme, which recognises and honours acts of animal bravery or exceptional devotion to duty.

Driesh, named after a mountain in Scotland, works alongside his SARDA (Search and Rescue Dog Association Scotland) handler Rodney Stoddart MBE, attending call-outs to missing persons throughout Scotland. During his career Driesh has braved mountain situations, under perilous conditions, to perform his rescue duties.

He is one of an elite team of dogs trained to be winched by helicopter into dangerous terrain to help save lives that would otherwise have been lost.

Speaking at the award ceremony, where he was presented with Driesh’s framed PDSA commendation, Rodney, who has 38 years search and rescue experience, said: “Driesh is one of a team of more than 20 devoted dogs here at SARDA. Last year alone their special skills were used to assist with around 50 searches, resulting in people being found alive and reunited with their families.

“Driesh’s PDSA Commendation award is a fantastic honour, I’m so incredibly proud of him and his amazing achievements. His presentation highlights the essential, lifesaving work all our dogs, and search and rescue dogs across the world, undertake every day.”

PDSA senior vet, Stuart McMorrow, based at the charity’s Edinburgh pet hospital, added: “Driesh’s outstanding life-saving record and lengthy career make him a very worthy recipient of the PDSA commendation.

“His unique dedication and skills make him an invaluable member of his team and show the vital roles animals play within society. I’m honoured to present him with this award.”

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