SDF - Shelter Dogs Enroute to Japan
Six Canine Disaster Search Teams trained by the Search Dog Foundation have been deployed to Japan as part of Los Angeles County Task Force 2. The dogs are all former shelter dogs and rescues.
At the end of February we visited Search Dog Foundation in Ojai CA and had the privilege of a personal demonstration of how SDF evaluates candidates for their Search Dog program.
It was quite an eye opening experience. SDF trainer Tim Mathews worked five dogs for us, all former shelter dogs, in the pouring rain & mud. The drive and enthusiasm of those dogs was amazing. I came away with a totally different perspective on what it takes to make the SDF grade, and what shelters should look for in a potential candidate for SDF.
While many of these dogs might not make the cut for SDF, they are still very viable candidates for DHS service. These dogs have been thoroughly vetted for temperament, agility, drive and X-Rayed for hips & elbow issues. It’s just that maybe they were not comfortable searching the rubble piles or some other characteristic that would not preclude them from tasks required by CBP etc.
Spring is around the corner, I hope we can have some kind of program in place to facilitate getting qualified shelter dogs to the appropriate Government agency.