Canines to the Rescue

(in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy)


This Shibu is a trained service dog. While most rescue dogs are more than 30 lbs., many small canines can be very good at specialized rescue work as well.

(Reprinted from www.bestinshowdaily.com)

Recovery operations are underway in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy which struck Monday evening, flooding cities up and down the East Coast, toppling trees, crushing homes, knocking out electricity to more than 40 million residents, burning an entire New York neighborhood and causing at least 80 deaths. While power has been restored in many areas, lots of residents and businesses are still in the dark.

A number of storm survivors have some canines to thank for finding them after one of the most powerful storms that’s ever hit the U.S. Three teams of Search Dog Foundation-trained dog-handler pairs assisted in locating and rescuing survivors of Sandy.

Jason Geary, a firefighter-paramedic with the City of Cohoes, N.Y., Fire Department and his dog Marsi finished their tour on Wednesday with the search of a seven-story apartment building. The yellow Labrador Retriever ran through the entire complex, trying to pick up any scent of stranded residents. She did, locating two women who had been isolated in the building for two days. They did not hear other rescuers calling out, but were able to hear Marsi barking as she alerted at the apartment door. “They were surprised when they opened the door to find Marsi wagging her tail wildly at the success of her ‘find,’” according to Janet Reineck, foundation development director.

Handlers Lt. John Stewart of the Sarasota Springs Fire Department and firefighter Greg Gould of the New York State Office of Fire Prevention Control helped throughout the day with search operations, as they were assigned to another team and did not go out with their dogs on Wednesday. Stewart and Gould have worked with their search dogs since July 2005 -- German Shepherd mix Lani and Golden-Lab mix Kura, respectively.

The teams spent Tuesday in Nassau County where there were multiple reports of missing persons, according to the foundation.

Monday was, of course, a busy day as the handler-dog teams joined crews from Suffolk County Urban Search and Rescue making water rescues in three towns in that county. Using boats and jet skis to reach stranded households, they helped bring 70 people and 13 animals to safety.

We invite all of our readers to use our Facebook page to assist those in our community all over the Mid-Atlantic and New England who have been affected by this disaster. Our forums are also up and running for those in need or wishing to help out.

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