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​Queen of tracking retires
Wednesday 10 May 2017 – 9:00 AM

She’s short and stout, with an almighty snout. After five years of service, the world’s only Welsh Corgi tracking dog, Manhon, is retiring. She was recently awarded the State Emergency Service (SES) 5 Year Medallion at a ceremony held by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).

Manhon’s handler Glenys Nottle said it was a special day for the little dog that no one thought could do it. Her exceptional nose has been put to the test in a wide range of search and rescues over the years, and she has assisted WA Police in finding missing and injured people throughout many parts of the state. 

“She’s one in a million. I couldn’t have asked for a better tracking dog and I’m really proud of her and all the hard work she’s put in,” Glenys said.  

She still remembers Manhon’s last direct find. It was a search for a 61-year old man with Down Syndrome who had gone missing from High Wycombe. As usual Manhon went straight into it, nose down, tail cocked, ears rigidly vertical, when she found him, 800 metres into parkland. 

“It was a very quick search. To this day I can’t believe she pulled it off. It was the kind of search you dream of. Manhon just took off around the corner all of a sudden and there he was,” Glenys said.

“She might not always be able to get in everywhere because of her short legs, but Manhon will tell you if the person you’re looking for is on the other side of the fence, and she is always right.” 

SES WA Canine Unit leader Leonie Briggs said that Manhon will be sorely missed. But she admits that when Glenys first approached her about assessing the corgi she had her doubts. While Alsatians, Border Collies and Labradors are renowned for their work as tracking dogs, short statured corgis are not. But what the pooch lacks in size she makes up for with smarts.

“Manhon proved us wrong and we were flabbergasted when she passed with flying colours,” Leonie said.

DFES Statewide Operational Response Division (SWORD) Superintendent Amanda Williamson bestowed the award on Manhon at Bayswater Riverside Gardens, pinning the medallion to her bright orange working vest. She thanked the fluffy tracker for her service to the community and wished her well in retirement.

“SES assist WA Police in their effort to search for missing members of the community and canines have a special role in these operations. Rescue dogs have the unique ability to locate people based on scent, without having seen them. Manhon has been a very successful tracker,” she said.

Leonie Briggs said DFES are in the process of assessing more canines to do the job. So after five years of service the small corgi from Albany, who has received praise from Her Majesty the Queen herself, is taking a well-deserved break. 

“Manhon will be happy as long as she gets a game of ball in the morning before kibbles, and of course the occasional treat from the grandchildren,” Glenys said.

For more information about the SES Canine unit and volunteering visit DFES​