The working dogs of North Shore Rescue help find the unfindable
MANNING PARK, B.C. -- Volunteers with North Shore Rescue donate much of their free time helping to extract people from dangerous situations in the backcountry – and for the team’s dog handlers, the commitment doesn’t end when they come back out of the wilderness.
At the moment, Chloe, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois, is NSR’s only certified search dog. But, if all goes according to plan, that will soon change.
Neiko, a two-year-old German Shepherd, recently washed out of RCMP canine training because he was too friendly.
That’s not a problem for search and rescue teams, so in September Neiko moved in with NSR’s Ryan Morasiewicz to begin learning the ropes.
"It's been going great," Morasiewicz said. "He has tremendous raw potential that I've been trying to work to catch up with and refine a little bit on the searches. He definitely loves searching."
Neiko needs another year of training before he can be evaluated by the BC Search Dog Association to become certified.
After that he can join Chloe on real world search and rescue operations.
The team hopes to add more dogs in the future because the animals can use their noses, speed and agility to cover ground much faster than people.
"If we had a hectare, it might take 20 people hours to cover it. Whereas Chloe can do it in tens of minutes,” said Roger Bean, Chloe’s handler.
Although Chloe has yet to actually locate a missing person in the wilderness, Bean says she is part of searches about once a month and has contributed by ruling out large areas as possible locations where the missing people may be.
Bean says it is only a matter of time before Chloe, who is currently undergoing avalanche training, plays a key role in rescuing somebody.