“Without them you feel like nothing, you feel hopeless like nothing can ever save you.”
Sometimes a hopeless place doesn’t look to bad at first, sometimes it has a nice shiny cover on it and you can’t even tell its a hopeless place at all. I think you learn that it was a hopeless place after you have been saved, once you have moved on. Dogs help you move on, i think it must be there knack for living in the present. See dogs do not dwell on the past, nor do they try to guess the future, all they want is the here and now. We could learn a few lessons from them…………
With over a dozen dogs milling about some sleeping, some chewing on bones and others scoping out what to do next you can see what a stable, calm pack can look like. These dogs range from my 6 pound chihuahua to my 65 pound high drive working shepherds all living happily in the same pack. My work as a dog behaviorist and dog trainer has allowed me to manage an ever changing pack of dogs. It is not as simple as throwing a bunch of dogs into a backyard, you must be able to communicate effectively with your dogs and have a solid foundation set in your training methods. This is not something made for TV, this is real life, this is MY life.
The girls have been hard at work these past few months so we took today off and just relaxed. The shepherds and the pug and I hit the trails and took a nice hike in the fall sun. As usual i had the camera, just can’t miss a moment to capture them in nature!
Which one of these doesn't belong??
They loved running through the leaves and chasing each other all over. Fugly didn’t get picked on to much which was good, its not his fault hes the smallest!
Run guys run!
The day finished out with a 2 mile run with the girls and then we picked up Otto from Kara’s house to come stay with us for awhile. The pack was pretty happy to see him!
Raina is my 12 month old German Shepherd. Her half sister (same father) is Emeline and her full sister from the previous litter is Abby. I was the first person to touch her the second she was born, and i was honored enough to be her owner. Her career started out at 8 weeks when i brought her home. She was a pistol and the other dogs loved her. Emeline thought she was the best thing in the world, her very own puppy!!!
The past 10 months have gone by fast, i cannot believe my girl is a year old! Her worth ethic is amazing, the photos and video of her say it all. She is a proof positive that phenomenal breeding’s make amazing working dogs! She is just like her mother whom i fell in love with 3 years ago when i started search and rescue. She is disciplined, focused, full of hunt and prey drive, and loves everyone she meets. She is one of those dogs that just makes you look like a damn good trainer! Well i knew she was special, i knew she was capable, and i knew she was fast……i guess i just didn’t realize how much!
Raina took her final airscent test on Saturday November 5th in Rochester NY. Her assignment was to search 100 acres and locate 2 subjects. Typical time for K9 and handler is between 2-4 hours to clear the area and locate both subjects and typical age for K9 is 2-3 years. We had a tough one, a large open field with high and low points and many wooded areas whose elevation changed and consisted of swamps in some sections. We also had people walking, loose dogs, and kids fishing in the stream as it was a local park. Raina’s age is 12 months, but that doesn’t hold her back at all, her total time was 62 minutes, she knew her mission and i trusted my dog. We finished up that great day with her certifying in human remains as well. She is officially a dual purpose dog has just started a long and successful search career. Her testing is far from done though as we will have her certified by outside agencies to, just to show proof positive how good her, and all my girls are at their jobs!
Last week Abby had her first search as a certified dog, and I my first search as a certified handler. Tuesday afternoon we were called up to Rochester NY to search for a missing man who never returned home from his walk. Abby and I arrived and were fielded immediately clearing an area till dark. We spent the night in Greece and reported back to staging at 0800 wednesday morning. By this time Rita Argiros and K9’s Ripley and Raven had arrived as had Erik and Brook both flankers from our team and Kara a flanker from Amigo SAR dogs. We were assigned a new area that bordered a swamp and a road the man frequently walked down with his 2 dogs. Sandra from Oswego search and rescue team also joined us and Abby and I were thankful for the extra help!
With just a little far away interest across the swamp Abby and I finished up our areas and headed home that evening. Abby did amazing, she worked hard, listened well, and sufficiently cleared her areas. All our hard work was paying off and I was very happy to see her work. I surprised myself as well, and was very calm and confident during the whole search process. This was not my first search by any means, i’ve been to 20 +, but it was my first time in “the hot seat” as a crew boss and K9 handler. The last 3 years of search and rescue training really prepared me for everything that i experienced, as well as my dog training experience and knowledge. I guess trusting your dog really does pay off!!!
Great job Abby
*Update* 2 fishermen found the body off a well traveled road less then a week later. It was directly across from the swamp area we searched, Abby was right!!!
But Abby’s first week was not over yet!!!
Saturday morning we recieved a call at 0630 of a missing hiker who never came home the night before. Abby and I picked up Kara and headed 3 hours east to Olive NY. We had barely gotten into the door of Incident Command when we were given an area and sent back out. I should have looked at the map a little better!!!!!! The brown elevation lines were blending in together the area was so steep, but Kara, Abby, and I knew this mans life depended on it and we packed our gear and started our area. The forecast was for 7+ inches of snow that afternoon and evening and we knew there was a limited window of time to find this guy. The terrain was a tough as the map predicted and the higher peaks were covered in snow. After about 3 hours of searching snow started falling and accumulating quickly. We had just hit 4 miles and finished our second pass around the ravines we were searching when my cell phone rang………the missing hiker had walked out of the woods 8 miles off the other side of the peak, he was safe, and he was alive! Kara and I were ecstatic, i threw Abby her ball and she got to carry it all the way back to the truck. We waited back at base for Buddy and K9 Max and Karen and K9 Ice to return and then we hit the road with a long snowy ride home.
Our 4 mile track
Abby slept all the way home, and most the next day as well, she deserved it she had a busy week at work!