Shilohs At Work ┬╗Search & Rescue

Dog teams have a very special role in the world of search and rescue. The dogs' ultra-sensitive hearing, night vision, endurance, and keen sense of smell have continually proven to be invaluable in the effort to locate missing persons. Because of their extraordinary abilities, dogs are often able to reduce the time spent searching, thereby increasing the chances that the missing persons will be found alive. A search dog's success stems from the fact that every human being has unique smell - not detectable by other humans, but discernible by animals - which is the constant stream of skin cells and bacteria shed from the human body. How this scent is detected by the animals is dependent upon the training they have had in trailing or air scenting techniques.

In both cases, the search dogs are able to locate missing persons even if they are hidden from view. Experts estimate that a single dog team can be as effective as 20-30 human searchers in locating a missing person in a given period of time.

There are various indications of a Find: Return and Refined, Bringsel (either handler or canine carried), Stay and Bark Return, and Lead Back On Leash.

The following are different divisions of certification available to dogs trained for Search and Rescue operations:

  • Canine Disaster Responder
  • Human Remains Detection Canine SAR Tech I Examination
  • Trailing Search Dog Canine SAR Tech II Examination
  • Trailing Search Dog Canine SAR Tech III Examination
  • Trailing Search Dog Canine Human Remains Detection
  • Land Examination Canine Human Remains Detection
  • Water Examination Canine Human Remains Detection
  • Forensic Examination Human Remains Detection SAR Dog
  • Disaster/Collapsed Structure Canine Avalanche Responder Avalanche SAR Dog
  • Evidence/Article Tracking SAR Dog Trailing SAR Dog Area SAR Dog Water SAR Dog

Courtesy of The National Association For Search and Rescue

Our SAR Shilohs

  • Gandalf finds a lost boy in the N.C. mountains!

"GREENSBORO, North Carolina (AP) -- The 12-year-old Boy Scout rescued after spending four days alone and lost in the rugged North Carolina mountains remained hospitalized Wednesday, recovering from severe dehydration and exposure to cold. Scores of searchers with trained dogs and heat-sensing helicopters scoured the area for days. Then, just before noon on Tuesday, a search dog named Gandalf caught Michael's scent about a mile from the Scout troop's camp site. (Watch searchers talk about finding scout ) Gandalf "popped his head three times" and there was Michael, walking along a stream, said Misha Marshall, the 2-year-old Shiloh shepherd's trainer." As posted on CNN, 8:00 p.m. EDT, March 21, 2007.

Click here to go to the full story on the CNN website.

  • Ben (Big Bend's Chisos Mountain v Bocage) HRD III (land & water) is trained & handled by his owner, Paul McDowell.

Barbara Robertson writes, "I hate to be a braggy mom, but he's got a resume that kicks butt!" They are affiliated with Special K-9's Team in The Woodlands, TX. This team has 4 levels of land certification... Basic (IV) Intermediate (III) Advanced (II) Masters (I) with each level's testing criteria being more difficult than that of the previous. They require a minimum Intermediate Land certification before a dog can be certified in water recovery. This team gets called out a lot so the opportunities have been many.

Ben was certified at Basic Land at only 1 year of age. Last spring he passed his Intermediate Land and then Water Tests just a few months before his 3rd birthday. He & Paul spent 9 days last Oct working with the New Orleans Police Dept. and the New Orleans Forensic Dept. in the lower 9th ward. We are very proud of both of them!

  • Tango of Braveheart Shilohs, Lori James and Gary Felty, have successfully rescued several dogs in the past years. One of the first Shilohs they rehomed was Tango.

This beautiful puppy sadly had lost his home as his young mistress had taken her own life. Lori recalls the story, "Roy Saldanha and Grace Florystack run Grace Way Kennels in Mississauga, Ontario. Roy's current Search and Rescue was a Shiloh he called Cash. Roy picked up Tango in early December. It turned out to be a perfect match. On Christmas Eve, Roy got a call to bring out his SAR dog to help look for a little girl who had wandered off. Roy and Grace took Cash, but Roy felt a need to take Tango too. No idea why, just on a hunch."

Once arriving at the site Roy starting working with the SAR Shiloh, and Grace with Tango. Then they switched handlers/dogs. Roy was walking with Tango when he just suddenly sat down and would NOT budge. Roy coaxed, cajoled, baited and tugged and NOTHING. Tango would not budge. Roy called Grace over with Cash who immediately went off about the length of a football field and found the little girl! Then Tango followed Roy, and both dogs were all excited that the they had found the child. She was very cold, but suffered no frostbite and was home the next day for Christmas. The other trackers/police saw what happened and Roy had numerous questions about Tango and where he had come from. When the people heard that Tango was a rescue dog and had NO TRAINING...and had only been with Roy/Grace for a few weeks, they immediately received several offers to buy Tango. Roy refused.

About a week after Christmas, Roy was very honored to receive a call from the Canadian Police asking if they would consider training with them. Roy and Tango continue to go out on search missions when called.