Four-paw res­cuer re­tires from job

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

After 10 years of ac­tive ser­vice in the Tre­ble Cone Ski Pa­trol, avalanche search dog, Milly, re­tired last Sun­day.

Milly cel­e­brates her 13th (in hu­man years) birth­day to­mor­row.

The pedi­gree labrador was taken on by owner and han­dler Bren­dan ‘‘Doons’’ Kearns as a 3-year-old in 2004 and after a year of train­ing, she qual­i­fied as an op­er­a­tional avalanche search dog.

Milly has worked ev­ery win­ter on the moun­tain since then and three years ago qual­i­fied as ‘‘ad­vanced’’ avalanche search dog.

The As­pir­ing Avalanche Dogs team re­sponds to in­ci­dents across the South­ern Lakes re­gion and up to Ao­raki-Mt Cook.

Milly at­tended and ‘‘cleared’’ eight avalanche in­ci­dents and helps pro­mote back­coun­try safety aware­ness on a daily ba­sis.

As­pir­ing Avalanche Dog co­or­di­na­tor Matt Gunn said Milly had ‘‘great drive and an awe­some tem­per­a­ment’’.

Next year, Tre­ble Cone Ski Area plans to em­ploy Gunn’s dog Rocket, Callum Grant’s dog Zef­fer, and Andy Wardell’s dog Tuki.

Photo: TRE­BLE CONE/FAIR­FAX NZ 629979183

Search dog: Re­tir­ing avalanche search dog Milly with her Wanaka han­dler Bren­dan Kearns at Tre­ble Cone.

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