Introducing Skye, the extraordinary border collie who spent over a decade serving as a mountain rescue dog in the stunning Lake District. The intrepid pup achieved an incredible feat of 200 successful searches during her career and hung up her collar in 2020 after 11 years of dedicated service. Skye has left an inspiring legacy of bravery that will continue to inspire others for years to come.
Skye is soon to be awarded the highly respected PDSA Order of Merit, also known as the ‘animal OBE’, for her exceptional dedication. Skye and her handler, John Leadbetter, worked tirelessly in all types of weather to find missing people. Skye’s journey began when she was a young puppy with the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, where she developed her skills. She then progressed to become a graded search dog with the Duddon and Furness MRT before moving on to the Langdale and Ambleside MRT and eventually the Kendal MRT.
According to John Leadbetter, Skye is more than just his search dog; she is his lifelong companion. He expressed that Skye is his closest friend on the mountains, and they are partners for life. John was overwhelmed with emotions and felt humbled when Skye received the PDSA Order of Merit, a well-deserved recognition for search dogs and their teams’ unwavering dedication to mountain safety. Apart from rescues, Skye has also played a critical role in raising funds and increasing awareness for mountain rescue teams through her ambassadorial work. Skye’s contribution has led to her being the 36th animal to receive the PDSA Order of Merit, an honor created in 2014 to acknowledge exceptional animals’ contributions to society.
Jan McLoughlin, the director general of PDSA, expressed her admiration for Skye as she was honored for her exceptional skills and dedication. Skye’s lifelong commitment to her work made her a deserving recipient of this recognition. Skye’s training began when she was just a puppy with the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team. She later qualified with the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dog Association and went on numerous search missions across the Lake District, Lancashire, the Pennines, and Scotland.
At 16 years old, Skye is happily retired and living with John Leadbetter and his family. Despite moving slower than before, her love for the mountains has not diminished, proving that she is still a true hero of mountain rescue.