A man with Alzheimer's wanders
from his home, a hiker goes missing, a trapped family
desperately tries to escape flood waters. The
Association for Search & Rescue indicates that the
ability to save a life is often dependent upon how
quickly the person can be found and accessed. But,
providing enough well-equipped and well-trained search
and rescue professionals is a daunting task.
People often say they want to
teach their dog to find lost kids and things. They
notice their dogs love to use their noses, and naturally
think this would be a good thing to do. It's a great
thought, but not really practical. Search & Rescue is
very rewarding, but it requires quite a serious
commitment on your part.
You will need to train at least 15 hours a week.
This includes being a victim and also learning
how to find one, which could mean spending hours hiding in tick-infested brush in the
dark. You will also need to learn all the skills required to actually head out and find
someone, such as, map reading, compass skills, first responder aid (extremely
advanced "first aid"), and radio skills. And, you will need to go out
in all kinds of weather and conditions during your training.
Finally, you'll need to
commit much time and money to this project. It takes about two years to fully
train a dog, costs reaching into the thousands of dollars depending on how much
camping, outdoor, and dog gear you've already got.
This Alpine Meadows video from February 5, 2008 features search and rescue dog training in conjunction with the Placer County
Sherriff Search and Rescue, and the Placer County Sheriff's Search and Rescue
Tahoe Dog Team. It was a real carnival for the dogs with helicopter rides,
treasure hunts in the snow and non-stop games all designed to train them to
sniff out and save buried avalanche victims.
Hug-a-Tree and Survive is a program for
children on how to keep from getting lost, how to
stay comfortable if they do get lost,
and how they can help the searchers to locate them. The main features of the program
involve impressing upon kids that they can help by looking after themselves and assisting
Meet Shane, a Canadian Search Dog
Association SAR Dog. Their motto is "Fide Canem" which is Latin for "Trust
the Dog". A fundamental rule in canine search and rescue, it 's typically the
first thing a new handler learns. Now, on the right is a coloring book page
created in Shane's honor.