Memorial Day is a day to pause and honor not only our brave soldiers, but also those whose courage, strength, and caring help others. While they’re not “war heroes,” search and rescue dogs play an increasingly important role in saving lives during natural disasters. From earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, to the recent tornadoes in the Midwest, dogs trained by the Search Dog Foundation have been deployed. All of these dogs were themselves rescued from shelters! Their rigorous training is financed entirely by private donations. Help them meet a $100,000 challenge grant by making a donation by June 1, 2011. As of today they are very close to the goal, and every dollar makes a difference.
“The Search Dog Foundation began in Oklahoma City, with Wilma’s deployment to the Federal Building bombing. Since then, we have been deployed 77 times. There are now 76 SDF Search Teams. Of these, 20 are based in “tornado alley”: 9 in Oklahoma, 4 in Nebraska, 4 in Dallas, and 3 in Florida. We have requests coming in from fire departments in other Midwest states, so that when disaster strikes in their region…no one will be left behind.
SDF’s Lead Trainer, Pluis Davern, trained each one of the Oklahoma dogs and handlers, traveling often to Oklahoma to work with the teams in freezing cold and blazing heat. Each handler is like family to her—she knows all of the canines as if they were her own. She sent us her thoughts on the deployment today:
“Watching these once cast-off dogs that with training have become life-saving tools fills me with unmitigated pride and a deep humility for this species that can and does do so much for humankind.”