Hardworking rescue dog Diesel retires from the force after 55 'dog years' of dedicated service

A hardworking fire service dog is officially retiring after a career responding to more than 300 incidents across Scotland over 55 ‘dog years’.

Springer Spaniel Diesel has officially hung up his protective boots and doggles after helping protect communities for eight year – or 55 ‘dog years’.

Diesel helped locate casualties in dangerous situations after joining the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue team in 2012 and then the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in 2015.

The clever canine was trained to use his powerful nose to move quickly through collapsed buildings or across wide areas of land to detect the live scent of an injured or trapped survivor.

Diesel also won an "Animal of the Year" award in October, 2018 at the International Fund for Animal Welfare awards.

Diesel has been working side-by-side with handler Gary Carroll, a crew commander with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at Portlethen, Aberdeenshire.

In 2015 the pair were deployed to Nepal as part of the UK’s International Search and Rescue team after an earthquake hit the region and thousands sadly lost their lives.

Diesel, now 11-years-old, was the first search dog to be employed by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and will officially hand over the lead to his protégé Mac.

Looking back at their time together, Gary Carroll said: “Myself and Diesel have had a great working relationship over the years.

“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.”

He added: “He’s been a real asset and been able to help firefighters and other agencies at incidents by searching large areas in a short time frame.

“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.”

Mac, who will take over Diesel’s responsibilities, is a four-year-old English Springer Spaniel and has been an operational search dog with the national service since October 2019, also based in Portlethen, Aberdeenshire.

Martin Blunden, Chief Officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Firstly, I want to thank Diesel for his service – he’s been an important part of our response across Scotland for a number of years now.