Cockburn: longest serving search and rescue dog retires

Michael Rooke with Zena, his 11-year-old border collie who is going into retirement. Picture: Will Russell
Michael Rooke with Zena, his 11-year-old border collie who is going into retirement. Picture: Will Russell

THE Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team’s Canine Unit celebrated the retirement of its longest serving dog, border collie Zena, at its Cockburn Emergency Services Complex last month.

Having worked for USAR for about 11 years, Zena, under the guidance of handler and owner Michael Rooke, attended incidents including the 2010 Kings Park mudslides, and had advance deployments for cyclones in WA’s north.

Mr Rooke, a volunteer of 35 years, said Zena came into his family’s life when she was only three months old and from there she went through training before beginning her long career.

“She is pretty amazing and a big part of a our family,” he said. “Everyone knew and loved her.”

Zena is one of three Rooke family dogs to work with both USAR and the State Emergency Services (SES) . She will now pass on the baton to Mr Rooke’s other family dog Rex, another border collie.

“Rex will be our fourth working dog,” he said.

“He’s just passed his fourth assessment and when he is 18 months old and fully developed he will start his career.”

Both Mr Rooke and Zena received a plaque.

Pictured is Mike Rooke with Zena (11-year-old border collie) and Rex (14-month-old border collie) Picture: Will Russell