The family of missing man Ray Speechley are working with Search Dogs Sydney to have a special dog trained to search for human remains.
Ray, or Raymond, Speechley, 77, was last seen about 4pm on Thursday, July 7, at the IRT Dalmeny aged care facility on Ruth Place, Dalmeny. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and was at the facility on respite.
Mr Speechley’s daughter Nikii Smith said the family in their continued search had wanted to hire the services of a human remains dog but the services available in NSW only came out at the request of police.
“Thus in our own searches we were unable to obtain assistance unless we paid large dollars for a company to come from another state. There was nothing in NSW to help us,” she said.
“This started me thinking about what I could do In memory of my father and so I started looking into starting my own search dog group to help locate dad as well as helping other long-term missing persons.”
Then one day she came across the Facebook page of Search Dogs Sydney and she discovered this group wanted to provide the services that she had been looking for, free to the families of missing persons.
She contacted Search Dogs Sydney in December and this group of what calls “wonderful volunteers” had the same passion that she had to help families of missing persons.
On Christmas eve, the group obtained a new dog called ‘Rufus’, who will be trained as the human remains dog that will help search for Mr Speechley and other missing persons.
Search Dogs Sydney are a non-profit group and since they commenced business in April 2016 they have been solely focused on specialised training of these amazing dogs and are presently funded by group’s president Chris D’Arcy and the volunteers, she said.
“On behalf of my family I am trying to help them not only get their name out there to the community but also to obtain financial assistance and funding in the form of donations and sponsorship,” she said.
“We presently have a sponsorship program, where people can sponsor a dog and handler for $30 per month that will go towards training, assessments, equipment etc.
“Sponsors will receive regular updates and photos of the dog as well as the chance to attend the Search Dogs Sydney training session to meet their sponsored dog and handler in person and even hide to help them hone their tracking skills.
“We are also looking for corporate sponsorship and donations to help build this group.”
If you would like to donate or sponsor, contact Nikii Smith on 0475 140 465 and she can provide a sponsorship identification number and banking details to arrange direct debit. She would also like contact information so she can send regular updates.