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Canine Master Searchers.

Search and rescue dogs gain much notoriety when a disaster strikes and their abilities to find injured and missing people are needed. Yet many of us are unaware of how many critical operations are conducted with search dogs on a regular basis. Typically a team composed of a handler and dog train for specific types of search and rescue missions, such as mountain, water, or urban rescues. Search dogs assist in a variety of situations such as finding elderly or mentally challenged people that wander away from their home or care facility. Similarly children that become lost may be found by a search dog. Those trained for urban search and rescue find people in jeopardy due to man-made or natural disasters in a populated environment. A number of outdoor situations such as avalanches, rock/mudslide, drowning, earthquakes, and lost or injured hunters are greatly assisted by search and rescue dogs. Also, dogs often help police find either people or evidence of a crime. Cadaver dogs are needed in finding the dead, providing an unfortunate yet extremely important service.

A dog’s keen instincts make them particularly well suited for these searches. The ability not only to smell a person, but also to smell that person’s trail makes them an exceptional as well as unique resource in searches. This is an ability that has not been replicated by human or machine. Yet it is not every dog that makes a good searcher. A dog’s attitude is as important as its tracking ability. The dog must be an eager searcher, able to work well under difficult circumstances, and take commands from their handler. These teams train and become certified for search and rescue missions. There is a commitment of time and money from handlers. To learn more about search and rescue dogs or how to help handlers and search organizations keep this vital service available check out the following search and rescue dog websites.

Search Dog Foundation
National Association for Search and Rescue



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