Search and Rescue Dogs are some of the most important dogs there have ever been. There is a foundation called the Search Dog Foundation which has a mission to have dogs that are highly trained in any kind of problem or disaster. Their main job is to find anyone who is buried in any kind of debris alive, whether it be natural or not. The dogs that they usually pick are dogs that have been rescued from different areas and put them with people who work for various departments that help in disaster relief. They give the dogs that are rescued a good home and work that is productive. These are some of the stories of the dogs who are part of the Rainbow Bridge group who lived and died for their work.
Ana, born 1995, was their first ever dog that was used for the Search and Rescue Foundation. Ana was a Golden Retriever who was a very active and energetic dog who was born in 1995 and passed away in November of 2008. In her life she would become one of the most valuable members of this group. She was considered too energetic to become a dog to assist those who were wheel chair bound so she was given over the to the Search and Rescue where she would be trained to be a dog who assisted in searching and rescuing those who were trapped. She and her partner Rick Lee, a Fire Captain, would become the first pair to do search and rescue after 9/11 on Ground Zero, be the ones who helped those after Hurricane Katrina went through, and also help those who had gotten trapped after buildings collapsed in Sacramento. Both were the ones that other dogs and their handlers modeled themselves after.
Bella, born in 1992, was a dog that had been trained in disaster, wilderness, and cadaver search. She was considered to be one of the most wonderful and amazing dogs in the group. She was said to be one the who loved to go to schools, fairs for earthquake and safety, events for scouting, and demos for search dogs. She loved to mother all kinds of animals and people. Her favorite to mother was chickens and she was such a gentle creature. She was considered to be remarkable in that at a young age, she would be certified in searching for those lost in the wilderness, also cadaver search and disaster relief. On 9/11, she was able to locate twenty-five victims. In her life she was able to do some amazing things and she was well loved. She passed away in 2007 after a lifetime of service that she loved to do.
Dusty born in 1995, was another one of the first dogs that had been trained for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. He, with Ana and another dog named Harley, were the first ones to be put into this group to be trained and used for this purpose. Dusty was an amazing dog who was able to quickly search for a missing person and find them in an amazingly short amount of time. She was paired with Randy Gross and these two would go on to become the one who set the standard for all who came after. When they were searching, they seemed to do it effortless and inspiring. They worked tirelessly when they were searching and they seemed to know each other so well that they seemed to work as one. She would do anything for her handler, even under conditions that were extreme. She passed away in 2007 after a lifetime of service that she loved to do.
Harley, born in 1997, was one of the first dogs to become part of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation along with Ana and Dusty. He was one of the dogs that others who came after him aspired to be. He was paired with Rob Lee, and they were with the other two dogs were sent to the World Trader center to search for victims of that disaster. It was said that he loved what he did and he did with such vigor. In 2005, he was part of the dogs that were sent in after Hurricane Rita went through. Harley was well loved and considered one of the best dogs before he passed away in 2006.
Harry, born in 2000 had a short life as a dog for the Search and Rescue, but what he did in those four years as one was a remarkable one. He was one the most beloved of the search dogs and he did his job with ease and grace. He first was a guide dog for the blind but was considered to be too energetic and was sent to be one of the dogs for the search and rescue. He was one of the youngest dogs to be apart of this group but being young never hindered him, it just made him better. He was partnered with Russell Tao, a firefighter, and they went on to do some amazing things in search and rescue. They did everything together and he lived a full life until he passed away in 2005 in his sleep.
Lola, born in 1997, was a black Labrador who was found on a highway in Tennessee, no leash and by herself. When she was picked up, it was discovered that someone had shot her, so the person who had picked her up, Lauren Wiltshire, helped her become healthy again. It was noticed that Lola was an unusual dog. She would tend to dive to the bottom of a lake or a pond to retrieve. So she became part of the Search and Rescue group. She was amazing in everything as she trained. She did everything remarkable well and was soon become partners with Justin Milligan, a volunteer firefighter. She did really well for a time but soon health problems interfered and she had to retire. She passed away in 2004.
Lucy, born in 1997, was a Golden Retriever and she began her training in 1998. She tended to be placed many times before the right handler came along. The man who would become her partner was Gary Smith and they seemed to work well together. They did well for a while until Lucy started showing signs that something was wrong. It was discovered that her health was precarious at best and she passed away in 2002.
Gus, born in 1997, was also a Golden Retriever, and at first was to be trained to be a hunter, but did not do well. He was sent to the Golden Retriever Rescue where they tried to find a home for him. He was finally placed in a home where they recognized that he would be great for the Search and Rescue Group. He was partnered with Dan Solis and they did remarkable work together and were both soon certified. Unfortunately, Gus health started going downhill. This dog, though, valiantly kept going and did what he loved to do. This dog loved to search and do what he loved until the very end. Gus passed away in 2001.