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It’s Monday, News Viewers, and it’s the day following the 9/11 anniversary of the attacks on the WTC, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania in 2001. The same day, super-sniffing dogs arrived to Ground Zero and began trying to locate survivors.

Search and rescue dog and handler from France searching Ground Zero, 9/23/01 (FEMA)

An estimated 250 to 300 SAR dogs and their handlers were involved in recovery efforts at the World Trade Center (WTC), the Pentagon, and the Landfill on Staten Island where 2 million tons of material obtained from ground zero was taken beginning on September 12, 2001, to be sorted and searched for human remains.

Thea, with handler Elena Lopez de Mesa of FEMA Florida Task Force 1, at the site. 
Riley the Golden Retriever assisted in the 9/11 search and rescue efforts. He was trained to find live people and helped recover several bodies of firefighters.

Search and rescue dogs (SAR) specialize in disaster response skills. Trained to detect the scent of living humans, their mission was to find survivors buried in the rubble. One of the dogs found the last living person rescued from Ground Zero, 27 hours after the collapse of the towers. As the days went on, rescue and recovery workers realized the chance of finding survivors was increasingly slim, and the operation turned its focus to recovery. Cadaver dogs, trained to find human remains, were also on the scene.

Appollo, German Shepherd partner of NYPD Pete Davis was the first dog on the scene. When Davis had to accept that even Appollo would not find a survivor, the tenacious shepherd had to be literally pulled from the debris. 
Thunder and partner Ken Olson

Injury and illness, including cuts, punctures, lacerations, and abrasions, fatigue, dehydration, heat exhaustion, weight loss, and orthopedic or back problems occurred in most of the 9/11 dogs and affected several organ systems, but all were minor. Only one dog required sutures, for a laceration of a rear foot, the only surgical procedure reported. By the end of the first year after their deployment, there was no evidence that the cohort developed adverse effects related to their work, either medical or behavioral.

Coby and Guinness, both Labrador retrievers, searched tirelessly through the rubble of the World Trade Center before returning home to Southern California to retire at their handler’s home.
Detection dogs like Jasper are motivated by playtime, so a ball is a treasured reward during training and fieldwork.

Detection dogs have a long history of helping humans track what we can’t see or sense, from explosives to earthquake survivors. Jasper is part of a new approach: Conservation, environmental safety, detection. In his case, he’s helping Seattle Public Utilities identify possible sources of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These banned industrial chemicals have harmful health effects on humans and wildlife, including causing cancer. (To keep Jasper safe, he’s regularly tested.)

Training Center for Conservation Canines in Washington State

Under a canopy of Douglas firs, dogs train at a spacious wooden Conservation Canines facility by being introduced to samples of what they’ll be trained to smell: animal scat, invasive plants, wildlife contraband and PCBs. While humans can’t distinguish among animal droppings, plants or chemicals, for example, the dogs can tell the difference.

Dogs and their superpower, sniffing. … whether survivors, explosives, drugs, even COVID, We now know we can work with dogs to help save the planet, too… It’s a great idea— working with animals to help the environment rather than working against both.

Detection Dogs

This is our Monday NV free chat, Free Range, and while we have an environmental bent, all topics are on the table, hence the title Free Range. Feel free to talk about your own observations, solutions, ideas, thoughts on all topics fit to print, along with, of course, the weather, the one topic that never goes away…. So what’s up in your neck of the woods?

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