I had the opportunity to photograph some search dogs a few days ago, including a couple who were searching for a live "victim". These dogs are worked constantly, repeated training is essential to keep their skills up to snuff.
They are thoroughly tested and certified before being able to be deployed and then are re-certified every year, (I think) to maintain currency. Neither the initial certification or the re-cert is easy, these dogs and their handlers have to be on their game in order to get through it.
These dogs are live victim search dogs and are members of a FEMA USAR team. I know some of them and have deployed with a few of them over the years. I must add that most of the dogs that I have deployed with are either retired or are no longer with us as they have a very finite life. It's kind of sad when you think about it.
In a technical search scenario, the victim might not be visible to rescuers, even after detected by the dog. It would then be the job of the search team members to breach into voids and use specialized equipment to peer into the voids. The team has several cameras that can be extended into small openings, providing visual information that can be used to facilitate a rescue.
Next up was Blue, one of the more senior dogs on the team. Some of you older readers may remember Blue, he surprised me one day on the third floor of the training tower. As you can see, Blue is an enthusiastic member of the team, despite his veterano status.
Nikko and Blue are my favorite dogs,each for a different reason. Blue is just awesome, nothing seems to bother him and he is very very good at what he does.
Nikko enjoys being paid attention to and being petted. Most search dogs can take affection or leave it, Nikko really seems to enjoy it.
Though it was near dusk when these photos were taken, it was still in the mid nineties. A lot of the photos showed dog-tongue, they were all as hot as I was. After 10 straight days of triple digit temperatures I think we are ready for the dog days of summer to be over and for fall to arrive.
Thanks for reading,