Search and rescue dog to star at royal highland show
By Douglas Barrie, Press Association Scotland
A search and rescue dog that has been deployed at major incidents including earthquakes in New Zealand and Nepal is to star at the Royal Highland Show.
Diesel will appear at the Department for International Development (DFID) display during the four-day event at Ingliston in Edinburgh.
The nine-year-old springer spaniel and his handler Gary Carroll have been deployed as part of the UK International Search and Rescue Team (ISAR) to disaster zones around the world.
During their time together they have helped in the aftermath of earthquakes in 2011 at Christchurch and 2015 in Nepal.
The pair are normally found at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) base in Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, while Diesel also has his own Twitter account - @SFRSdog - with almost 5,000 followers.
Scottish ISAR team leader Mr Carroll said: "Diesel has been trained to go into some of the most hostile environments you can imagine.
"There are not many dogs who could handle being lowered out of a helicopter on a winch and then carry out the tasks that he can do.
"He plays a vital role in not only reaching casualties but helping protect his firefighter colleagues as they work in high-risk zones, letting them know which areas are clear.
"I've had Diesel from the moment he was born and we have a great bond.
"We've been through a lot together, including witnessing first-hand the harrowing effects of the earthquakes in New Zealand and Nepal.
"When I deployed with him following the earthquake in Nepal and put into practice all his training by using him to search collapsed structures, it was good to see him in action, using the skills he was trained for."
The 48-year-old added: "He takes it totally in his stride. It's all just a big game for Diesel and his tail is wagging the whole time.
"If he finds people he gets his favourite toy, a tennis ball, as a reward.
"We've never been to an event as big as the Royal Highland Show before. We are really looking forward to it."
Around 200,000 people are expected to attend the show at the Royal Highland Centre between Thursday and Sunday.
Diesel will be kitted out in his rescue uniform while the DFID display also includes aid staff demonstrating a "lifesaver" water filter and a 3D printer used to create surgical and engineering parts.
International Development Minister Dr Andrew Murrison said: "The Royal Highland Show is a wonderful opportunity for DFID to showcase the life-saving work of UK aid and I am sure that Diesel the search and rescue dog will be a huge draw.
"International Search and Rescue team members like Diesel and his handler Gary Carroll provide hope during humanitarian disasters when vulnerable people have nobody else to turn to.
"Without a moment's hesitation they risk their own lives, using their expertise and remarkable skills to help others in often incredibly dangerous environments.
"I'm sure that lots of people attending this event will wish to seek out Gary and Diesel to thank them for their incredible work."
Pic by DFID/PA Wire