Sunday, January 17, 2010

Those Nutty Dogs...That Save Our Lives

Everyone's probably known a dog or two in their lives that no one has known what to do with. These dogs generally invoke that shrug of defeat, that sigh, and then "well, he's just REALLY exuberant". They may leave a wake of destruction, everything becomes a chewable challenge, they have unbridled energy, limitless drive, and may make so much noise that a fire truck sounds quiet. What a great housemate, right? Where's the off switch? Not surprising that some of these dogs end up surrendered to shelters. The good news is that, when given a bit of focus and a job to do, these dogs can be recommissioned and quite literally become life-savers.

The destruction in Haiti is profound, with many buildings reduced to rubble. Buried in that rubble are people. After the earthquake, fifteen teams of live scent dogs and their handlers (all but one from CA!) were deployed to Haiti to search the rubble. This is what these 'nutty' dogs have trained for and the teams are working hard around the clock to find survivors. A few days ago, a Border Collie, Hunter, caught a scent and started criss-crossing along a path until he alerted, and found three girls buried under 4 ft of concrete! All those hair-pulling qualities may not make a great housepet, but they sure do make for a fantastic search dog!

Way to go, Hunter (and handler, Bill Monahan)! Keep up the great, dedicated work Search Dog Teams!

These live scent dogs are found in a variety of places, but many really do come from shelters, where they are often surrendered due to their unruliness. It's so satisfying to see a once frustrated, high energy dog go on to thrive in a new job...and save lives on the way.

1 comment:

Pam said...

Thank you for letting us know how our canine friends have been helping to save lives in Haiti. Just yesterday, one of our volunteers who hasn't been around for a while came in to say hi. She said she's been busy training her pittie, Pumpkin to do search and resuce with CARDA (California Rescue Dog Association). With their smarts and oh-so-eager-to-"please-ness", it is easy to see why pitties can make awesome search dogs. The problem is BSL, which limits where they are able to go. :(