'Boisterous' pup Merlin becomes fire service search and rescue dog

Merlin is now a qualified National Resilience search and rescue dog and can be deployed to incidents across the country. Credit: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

A puppy who was given up for being too "boisterous" for his owners has taken on a new role as a first responder.

Merlin, a Dutch Herder Labrador cross, was given to Northumbria Police as a pup after becoming too excitable for his owners to handle.

The force contacted Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, whose watch manager Steve Carr took him in and began putting him through his paces to train him join the Urban Search and Rescue team (USAR).

Since then, two-year-old Merlin has undergone a series of rigorous training exercises, learning the skills required to support emergency services to rescue people trapped in collapsed buildings or hard-to-reach areas.

Now as a qualified National Resilience USAR dog, Merlin can be deployed to incidents across the country that need his specialist help.

L-R: Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther, Sergeant Julie Neve, new recruit Merlin and Watch Manager Steve Carr. Credit: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said “Merlin becoming a qualified National Resilience Urban Search and Rescue dog increases our capacity to respond to incidents and rescue those in need faster.

“I know watch manager Carr has been working incredibly closely with Northumbria Police when training Merlin for his role and I want to thank them for their continued support.

“Merlin will be able to reach places our firefighters simply can’t reach, so that he can identify the location of any casualties during an emergency response.

“I hope this reassures our region that when your blue light services respond in the North East, they are some of the most highly trained officers in the country. Even our USAR dogs are top of the class.”

Sergeant Julie Neve from Northumbria Police’s Dog Unit, said: “Merlin has done an absolutely fantastic job and he’s a prized new addition to his team.

“Search and rescue dogs provide an invaluable service to our communities, and to the first responders who rely on their skills to respond to emergencies, help find missing people and so much more.

“It has been a pleasure to put Merlin through his paces alongside our working police dogs and I wish him all the best in his new career.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...