A CHESHIRE search and rescue dog has been given a prestigious honour by leading vet charity PDSA, following a challenging 11-year career.

Border Collie Bryn was awarded the PDSA Order of Merit – the animals’ OBE – at a ceremony last Thursday.

Having worked as a search and rescue dog in Cheshire, Bristol and the UK’s international team since he was a puppy, Bryn retired in May.

Trainer Steve Buckley, who has worked with Bryn since 2001, said: “Bryn has been a dedicated and exemplary search dog throughout his career. He never wavered from his mission and those working with him had complete faith in his detection skills.

“His skills have been used to set training standards across the world.

“Dogs like Bryn only come along once in a lifetime and I’m incredibly lucky to have worked beside him for the past 11 years. “Receiving the PDSA Order of Merit is a fitting end to his distinguished career. I am so proud of him.”

Bryn’s work has included missing person searches, collapsed buildings and gas explosions throughout the UK, using his ability to search large areas with greater efficiency than his human counterparts.

As well as helping find casualties within disaster areas, Bryn’s skills have also helped reunite families with lost loved ones, allowing them to be laid to rest.

His international work involved deployment to Japan in 2011 and Nepal in 2015, in the wake of devastating earthquakes.

This followed Steve and Bryn becoming one of only four UK dog teams to attain the International Rescue Dog Organisation’s ‘mission readiness test’ in 2009.

PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin said: “I’m proud and honoured to award Bryn his PDSA Order of Merit. His support for teams in dangerous search and rescue situations has made a profound difference to the lives of people across the world. His incredible talent and skills are truly rare.

“Today he joins an honourable line-up of animals that have displayed outstanding devotion and companionship in various walks of life. Although very different, they are all worthy recipients of the PDSA Order of Merit.”

The award recognises animals that display outstanding acts of devotion above and beyond normal companionship. Only 17 have been awarded since it was introduced in 2014, with Bryn being the seventh canine recipient.