Death of Cara, our trail-blazing search and rescue dog

It's with great sadness that we announce the passing of Search and Rescue dog, Cara



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Published on 10 August 2023

"I'm very proud to say that she leaves an amazing legacy behind her"

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Cara, our recently retired Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) dog.

Our thoughts are very much with her handler, Firefighter Mick Attwood, at this terribly difficult time.

Together, the pair played a key role at the scenes of many incidents, exercises and other operations.

Cara was a Belgian Malinois and the first of her breed to be licensed for USAR operations in the UK.

She had been frequently deployed in the UK but also abroad with UK International Search and Rescue (UK ISAR), in Sicily and Kosovo.

Cara retired earlier this month because of a heart condition. She had joined WMFS in 2016 and began her career as a USAR dog with Mick, as a member of our Technical Rescue Unit team.

Aged nine when she died, Cara had also been an ambassador for several projects and charities, including the National Foundation for Retired Service Animals (NFRSA), and represented WMFS and the fire and rescue sector at a wide range of exhibitions, charity events, open days and schools’ visits. She also appeared as an ambassador for her breed at Crufts, and on behalf of Acana UK and Ireland.

Mick said: “It’s incredibly sad that we’re announcing Cara’s passing so soon after her retirement. I’m very proud to say that she leaves an amazing legacy behind her.

“She always enjoyed meeting people and all the fuss she got, yet she always knew the level of self-control needed for whoever she met.

“On and off duty, she excelled in all environments. Working with her was the greatest blessing any handler could wish for. She set the standard and we’re extremely proud of all that she achieved in her nine years. Rest easy, Cara.”

Search and Rescue Dog Cara, standing on some rocks.

Simon Barry

Assistant Chief Fire Officer

This is incredibly sad news. Cara was a much-loved and well-respected member of the brigade. She has been a huge asset to our Search and Rescue team, aiding our communities in the West Midlands and beyond. Everyone at West Midlands Fire Service expresses their gratitude to Cara for her service.

We would ask that Mick’s privacy be respected at this time. Members of the media are requested to contact our Corporate Communications team for any further information.

Search and Rescue Dog, Cara.