An “incredible” north-east search and rescue dog has retired after saving lives across Scotland and abroad.
Diesel, a Springer Spaniel, has responded to more than 300 incidents across Scotland since he started working in 2012.
The clever canine originally joined the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue team that year, before moving to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in 2015.
One of Diesel’s most notable jobs is being deployed to Nepal in 2015, as part of the UK’s international search and rescue team after an earthquake hit the region.
He also made history as the first search dog to be employed by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and will now retire at the age of 11.
Owned by handler Gary Carroll, a crew commander who works as an urban search and rescue instructor at the local training centre in Portlethen, said: “Diesel and I have had a great working relationship over the years.
“I’ve had him since the day he was born and have been able to watch him grow into an incredible search dog.
“When we’ve attended incidents he’s always checking that I am OK, in the same way that I have done with him.
“He’s been a real asset and been able to help firefighters and other agencies at incidents by searching large areas in a short time frame.
“By doing this he’s able to help ascertain whether someone is within the search area – and, if not, then we can quickly move the focus onto another search area.”
Diesel will now hand over the lead to English Springer Spaniel Mac, who has also been trained up by Gary.
Mac has been an operational search dog with the service since October last year, and is also based at Portlethen.
Social media stars, Diesel and Mac have been captivating audiences with their little boots and googles, but they served as an important part of the team.
It takes two years to train up the dogs, with handler Gary using their interest in playing with a toy to teach them to sniff out a simulated casualty.
They know if they are found, the toy is a reward, and will bark to make their human companions aware of their discovery.
The dogs are more agile and can climb over rubble easier than their human counterparts, and are the best way to find casualties, including those who are unconscious.
Chief officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Martin Blunden said: “Firstly, I want to thank Diesel for his service – he’s been an important part of our response across Scotland for a number of years now.
“Even though he sees searching as a game, he’s dedicated a large part of his life to helping people when they are in need and that should be commended.
“I’d also like to thank Gary and his family for the hard work and time they have put in to training both Diesel and Mac.
“It’s an incredible level of commitment shown by both handler and dog to be there for people across Scotland when needed.
“Whether it is the middle of the night or just as dinner is being served, a call can come in and Gary will drop anything to provide a potentially life-saving resource.”
Members of the public can keep up with Diesel and Mac on social media. They are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under @sfrsdog