Search and Rescue Dogs are very special animals trained to search for people in their time of need.
Search and rescue dogs are trained to use their strong sense of smell. They detect a human’s scent of smell through shedded skin cells, the smell of their breath, perspiration and gases. They then track these scents to locate missing people. These dog’s can be trained to either track a specific scent, ie that of one particular person, or to track any given scent like the scent of humans and/or cadavers. They will work with a handler, on and off lead and generally with a group of rescuers joining them.
Search and rescue dogs are commonly used during natural disasters to search for survivors of fires, floods, earthquakes, avalanches or landslides. They are also used to search through rubble and debris in cases of plane crashes, explosions or building collapses. As their job is to look for people they are also deployed when people get lost, like when bushwalking or in cases where an elderly person or child wanders off.
There are many breeds that are suited to be search and rescue dogs including mixed breeds, Some of the more commonly seen breeds are Labradors, German Shepards, Beagles and Bloodhounds.
It is another reminder of how lucky we are to have dogs!
Until next time,
Originally published in My Pet Magazine Issue 18, Autumn/Winter 2019.
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