http://SupremeMasterTV.com – Searching for Life: The Dogs of NZ’s Wakatipu LandSAR Search and Rescue & USA’s Mid Atlantic D.O.G.S.. Episode: 1778, Air Date: 28 July 2011.
Search-and-rescue dogs serve on the frontlines locating people missing after natural disasters, lost children, injured hikers and others, being ready at a moment’s notice to bravely endure the elements and save lives. Supreme Master Ching Hai, world renowned humanitarian, artist and spiritual teacher, speaks of her admiration and concern for these devoted canines.
And I saw many dogs, you know, they used for rescue mission. Oh, they just walk in like nothing, but I feel so bad about them.
The dogs walk in the sharp, broken glasses or anything like that, even chemical leaking or anything, or germs or danger.
And these are precious dogs. They have been trained for years. And they even lay down their life for anyone at command. You have to protect that dog.
To show her loving support for search dogs and their human partners, Supreme Master Ching Hai has generously contributed over US$80,000 to search-and-rescue teams in 18 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, South Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Panama, the Philippines, Slovenia, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA.
Today’s program features two of these courageous teams, the Wakatipu LandSAR Search and Rescue from New Zealand, and Mid Atlantic D.O.G.S., from the United States. Located in Queenstown, South Island, the Wakatipu LandSAR Search and Rescue is an active team specialized in high country and mountain search and rescue.
Wakatipu Search and Rescue is actually a volunteer group, which has been established back in 1980s. It’s a working group of about 40 people, who are sent in case somebody is lost in the mountains, around the lake or in the city, or wherever else.
The search and rescue dogs at the Wakatipu LandSAR Search and Rescue are often deployed for searches where time is of the essence and the terrain is difficult. Such is the case following an avalanche.
There is a big use in avalanche and snow clearing. My dog is operational in avalanche and snow. It means that if an avalanche happens, he can go and find the buried person.
In an avalanche, do you helicopter up to the location?
Because the time is very crucial, normally it’s a helicopter, of course. At least to bring you to the base and then from the base you decide how to go there.
Normally the first 15 minutes is the most important. Because then the possibility that you find a live person actually drops every minute. So that’s why lots of avalanche jobs are based on the ski fields, which means that they are always very handy. And if anything happens around the area, they can be very quickly transported to the place where the avalanche happened. But, yes, actually in an avalanche the dogs are a great asset for everybody, because there’s no other possibility to cover a big area of snow, because everything else would be really slow.
How are the dogs cared for during a mission?
During the mission, it depends on the terrain, on the situation, on the weather. Because, for example, a dog like Jacques needs more breaks more often, because he can overheat and can be quite tired after a long search. He has to have lots of water. You will always watch the terrain, if he is not in a dangerous situation. The dogs should have a break every 40 minutes; for another 10, 15 minutes, especially if it is hot weather, if it is demanding terrain, and then you can continue again.
Some dogs are very dedicated to work for you. It means that they don’t really watch how they feel and they can put themselves in troubles. They really go to every terrain, every situation. So you have to decide and manage this.
The search and rescue dogs are very motivated and willing to work. What is their reward for conducting a successful search?
They don’t associate the search operation with any reward. The reward itself comes through the particular search. When he succeeds, he's given a little toy, which is his favorite toy. But most of all it’s your excitement again, as the partner, and that’s what the dog wants to see. Because you are his “alpha” being, you are his leader and he wants you to be satisfied. So it’s not the toy itself. It’s actually the whole group of aspects and behavior of yourself which comes as the reward for the dog.
In recognition of the valuable contributions of the humble, dedicated dogs of the Wakatipu LandSAR Search and Rescue, Supreme Master Ching Hai donated US$1000 to the organization to purchase protective equipment for them.
It’s actually a kind of confirmation of the great sponsorship we were given by Supreme Master. We will use this great money for the protection of the dogs, which will possibly come in terms of little tents. Because when we do our exercise or even the live search, which is more important, and something happens with the weather, we normally can protect ourselves, but we can’t protect the dogs.
Now we travel to central USA to visit Mid Atlantic D.O.G.S., a volunteer organization which provides teams to search for persons who are lost, trapped, or incapacitated. Let’s meet some of the members and their delightful canine partners.
Hi, I am Cindy Majane with Mid Atlantic D.O.G.S. We have about 15 regular training volunteers with our organization.
I am Christie and this is my dog Aleko. She is a three years old Belgian Malinois.
I am Lori Weckesser and this is my dog Ella. She is a two and a half years old German Shepherd.
I am George Stephens. This is my dog Max; he’s a two years old Lab.
Hi, Jane Servais. This is my seven-year-old Australian Shepherd, Embers.
Hi. I am Allen and this is Simi.
Hi, I am Bill Kenealy. I have a two and a half year old German Shepherd who is currently on a time out.
I am Kate Gold and this is my dog Pi. She is one year old Border Collie.
I’m Laura, and this is Bluestone. He’s a two years old West Virginia hound dog.
Because these dogs must frequently work in a wide range of weather conditions, extra care must be taken to protect them.
We need to watch out on a cold day like this that you don’t overwork the dog, that you always check your dog’s paws when they come back in to make sure they are not cut or they don’t have snow or ice in between their paw pads. And so we are extra careful both in the snow and during the summer with the heat, always to make sure that they are okay.
Dogs have a sense of smell thousands of times better than humans, and use this highly developed ability to locate a missing person. Let’s watch how Cindy and Slugger conduct such a search.
This is Cindy and her dog Slugger. Slugger is a nine-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. Slugger has been doing and training for search work since he was a puppy. You see how the dog’s head has gone up. The body language has changed. The back is straight. The dog had picked up the scent, worked it to the source, and now what the dog has to do is come back and tell the partner that he’s made a find.
As you can tell, finding people is the greatest thing in the world. They love this. So it’s not complete without the dog telling. You can hear the dog barking. The dog has to lead the person back in. And he doesn’t get rewarded until the partner and the dog and the person missing are all together.
Allen shows how his dedicated dog companion Simi works very diligently until she picks up the scent.
So he just gave her the command to go find. So she goes out. And then she goes into the woods. She’s searching. You can see as she zigzags back and forth a little bit, she’s in scent. And then we can hear her barking because she’s found the person. She will bark until Al gets there.
Training a SAR canine takes thousands of hours. Sometimes it begins when she is only a puppy. Such is the case for Kailey.
Kailey is an eight-month- old puppy and she’s just learning all about search- and-rescue work. And the primary thing that she needs for this is to like people. And she likes people. So we can get started.
With the new dogs that are just training they get rewarded for going in. They don’t have the behavior training yet to go back and forth, although they may, just because they’re excited. Kailey’s getting rewarded for going to Laura and finding her.
Today’s new technology is helping the dogs and their partners conduct their searches more efficiently.
Max is wearing an Astro collar. I’ve actually integrated it on his harness, this orange piece here. That’s a radio transmitter that broadcasts his location based on GPS. I have a companion device which I carry, and it will tell me where he is in relation to me. In addition it maintains a record, so you can see a track on the screen both of where I’ve walked and where Max walks. So if we’re out trying to cover a large area, I’ll be able to see not only the part of that area that I walked, but also the part that Max walked and get a reasonably good idea of how well we’ve covered the area and searched it.
Although they train arduously for hours, the searchers and their canine companions enjoy their training sessions together.
I learn something every time I go out with my dog. I learn to trust my dog. Sometimes you’re out searching, maybe just training and your dog takes off and you think, “Oh the person couldn’t be there,” but the person is there. You trust your dog, because they have qualities of smell that we don’t have and they can find people that we would not know were there. It’s very inspiring to work with them.
To recognize the outstanding contributions of the dogs in this noble organization, Supreme Master Ching Hai lovingly contributed US$1000 toward the purchase of protective equipment for their hard working dogs. Members of Mid Atlantic D.O.G.S. expressed their appreciation of this recognition.
Thank you very much for your donation.
Thank you, thank you. Thank you.
We appreciate it very much. We’ll use it to benefit our dogs who are our true partners. And we very much appreciate you coming out and visiting with us today.
Supreme Master Ching Hai’s #1 international bestselling book, “The Dogs in My Life,” was also presented as a gift.
Thank you very much, and it’ll be very interesting to read. Thank you.
Our heartfelt appreciation, dedicated canines and volunteers from the Wakatipu LandSAR Search and Rescue and Mid Atlantic D.O.G.S., who selflessly devote time and energy to serve others in urgent situations. We wish you every success in your noble work and many years of happiness together, both on and off the job, with God’s manifold blessings.
For more information on Wakatipu LandSAR Search and Rescue, please visit: www.wakatipusar.co.nz For more information on Mid Atlantic D.O.G.S., please contact: www.midatlanticdogs.org Thank you, compassionate viewers, for your kind presence today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. May all beings enjoy long, healthy and happy lives in a peaceful, vegan world. Canadians Donald Armstrong, an organic grain farmer and Dan Jason, owner of an organic seed company, believe there is only one way to grow healthy, sustainable grains, fruits and vegetables. Organics is the only way to go, not using herbicides and pesticides and poisons in general. If you don’t poison your food and your environment and grow organically, then we’re going to have a planet that survives. If I go somewhere now and smell a (chemical) spray, I can’t stand it. It’s amazing. I just detest the smell of (chemical) sprays. Find out more about growing grains, fruits and vegetables the organic way Wednesday, August 3 on Planet Earth: Our Loving Home.
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