Lying in a ditch
I have done many odd, and amazing, things in my life. Things that normally come onto my radar simply because I was asked and then say “let’s do it”. Generally then dragging the long suffering Mr B along, scratching his head about what the hell his wife has got him involved in now.
My philosophy is “one life, live it” and so you have to grab these opportunities because it might be a giggle / only chance to do it / realise you hate it and never need do it again.
Or it might save somebody’s life.
Bit over dramatic you might think. But not really. You see on Friday night Mr B saw this tweet on Twitter:
Would you like to come and hide for our search dogs 9am this Sunday near Camberley?
— Surrey Search&Rescue (@SurreySAR) September 28, 2012
and said “shall we do it?”
Well that ticks a few boxes on the “one life, live it” agenda.
And so it came to pass that on Sunday morning we drove to Camberley to be “placed” in shrubs by Surrey Search and Rescue and for want of a better word, abandoned for an hour. Being asked to spend a few hours lying in a ditch. Or as a friend on Twitter suggested: #WitchInADitch.
We then awaited our rescue by a dog who was doing her re-qualification after two years of being a rescue dog. Even once qualified the dogs and the handlers need to demonstrate they are up to the job by being assessed.
There are various levels of qualification but a level three dog needs to be able to cover an area of 50 acres in 90 minutes which is a huge area! And to be able to learn to do that, or to keep their qualifications current, they need victims.
I mean volunteers.
So Mr B and I lay in shubbery for an hour. Lying in the undergrowth staring at brambles. Talking to a robin. Texting Mr B “are you cold?”.
After about 45 minutes I could hear cow bells and eventually as they grew louder I heard an encouraging “find them, where are they?” but then unfortunately another dog out for a walk came over as the rescue dog neared me and distracted her. Which meant she ran on and missed me first time round. It was very disconcerting hearing the bells fade away again! My instructions were to keep still and not move, even when the dog appeared as they need to go back to their handlers and demonstrate a find.
Mr B was found and I felt a bit mifffed when he texted me to say “I am out” knowing he was further along the path than me. He may have said something or looked surprised that I wasn’t there too as the dog then headed back and the bells became louder again. Next thing I knew there was snuffling and my head was being nudged (Mr B got a full on face lick when he was found).
And then the dog disappeared to get the handler who soon appeared, said “are you okay” and then did the most important thing. Rewarded the dog with a juicy tube of pate.
We rejoined the trainers and watched as the last member of our group was found, from on top of a hill so we got a really good view of the dog going in and out of all the shrubbery, followed by trainers in high vis jackets. Watching puffs of talc being set off to see the wind direction (and therefore which way any scent would be blowing). It was fascinating to watch.
I can honestly say this was a real giggle and felt like a “good thing” to do. After all, we hope we never need these sorts of services but if we do we want to know they know what they are doing.
Surrey Search and Rescue receives no government funding but is run solely on charitable donations. Do look at their website and if you can help in anyway, please get in touch with them. Of if you fancy helping out with being rescued one morning do follow them on Twitter.
You never know, you might just help to save somebody’s life too.