Why every day is #BringYourDogtoWorkDay for Graham
Today is national Bring Your Dog to Work Day, but for Urban Search and Rescue Dog Jarvis and his handler Graham Currie every day is just that.
“Jarvis is with me pretty much 24/7 - whether that’s on station, at home or out and about.” Graham began.
“He passed his training in April this year and has now taken over the role of ECFRS's Search and Rescue Dog from my other dog, Kirby.
“Kirby is now 12 and retired after a long and established career, but Jarvis is now very much on the run and available to attend incidents not just across Essex or the UK, but also internationally as part of International Search and Rescue (ISAR).”
Searching woodlands, visiting remote islands via boat and even abseiling down 10-storey buildings (with Graham!) were all part of the rigorous training that saw Jarvis join USAR B Watch, where he now spends four days at a time.
“We’ll do our four days on with B Watch, and on our days off we’ll be available nationally. If something happened in the UK and we were the nearest dog unit, we’d go to wherever that incident was.”
“Jarvis’ day starts the same every time - we’re up at 5.15am and out for a four or five mile walk. Well, I walk four or five miles but Jarvis runs about so much that I wouldn’t want to guess how far he actually goes!
“We have to do that because he has so much energy. If I didn’t give him a good walk and tire him out, I wouldn’t be able to bring him to the station like I do - he’d just be bouncing off the walls,” Graham laughs.
“We’ll get to the station in the morning and then we always do some sort of training while we’re there, whether it’s obedience ([teaching Jarvis to follow instructions] or searches around the area. Sometimes we get members of the watch to go and hide in the training rig or in the wooded area behind the station.”
“Then after our shift we’ll do another long walk of a few miles. He needs that or otherwise he just wouldn’t chill out in the evening at all!”
Spending so much time together has naturally made Graham and his five-year-old Working Cocker Spaniel very close. Together they have already travelled across the UK for various exercises, with another major training event set to take place in Sicily next month.
And Graham says that relationship is what gives Jarvis the belief that no matter what situation they’re in, he can follow the instructions he is given.
“If you think about the nature of what you’re asking the dog to do, it’s really important that you have that bond with them. They might be going into a collapsed building or on top of a collapsed structure… so they need to trust you.
“Jarvis is a massive part of our family’s life, not just my life at ECFRS. That’s really important – he is so much more than just a working dog.”
Want to meet Jarvis?
Jarvis and Graham will be at a range of events throughout the summer, including many of our Fire Station Open Days.
Why not come along to one? You can find the full list here.
Last updated: 21 June 2019