Ollie on the scent of new lease of life

It is difficult to imagine that Ollie the labrador was an unwanted pet. But the plucky pooch, who was abandoned in the north-east of England two years ago, has seized his second chance in life by becoming a qualified search-and-rescue dog.

It is difficult to imagine that Ollie the labrador was an unwanted pet.

But the plucky pooch, who was abandoned in the north-east of England two years ago, has seized his second chance in life by becoming a qualified search-and-rescue dog.

The bouncy three-year-old is now set to help vulnerable and lost people across East Anglia after being rehomed by the Dogs Trust charity in Snetterton.

Two years after arriving in Norfolk as a stray from a Newcastle shelter, the golden labrador has just received a certificate from the National Search and Rescue Dog Association (NSARDA).

His owner and handler, Mark Green, who is a PC with Suffolk Constabulary, said he was "delighted" for the dog, who had the "perfect temperament" for search-and-rescue work.

Ollie, who lives with Mr Green and his family in Bury St Edmunds, will now assist the Search Dogs Suffolk charity to help authorities find missing people.

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The dog and trainer went though a rigorous 18- month training regime to gain the NSARDA qualification, which included an experience in an RAF helicopter for a sea-rescue exercise.

"The training is very difficult if you do not know what you are doing but I have been very lucky that Ollie has made me shine. It would have taken much longer if he had not been so good," said Mr Green.

"I suspected Ollie's potential when I first met him at Dogs Trust Snetterton, and he's proved me right as he has a natural ability for search and rescue.

"There were times when I couldn't believe how unfazed he was by the tasks we were set, especially when we had to be winched from a helicopter."

Diane McLelland-Taylor, Dogs Trust Snetterton manager, said she was "proud" of Ollie.

"It is always nice to see our dogs go on to achieve great things. Ollie is evidence of how intelligent and talented rescue dogs can be - as well as being loving family pets," she said.