Even as rescue technology advances, few things prove so sophisticated as a dog’s nose.

Search-and-rescue dogs can track one scent for hours, distinguishing it from other stimuli. Paws can trek where wheels cannot, helping find victims trapped in uneven or unsteady terrain. Off the leash, dogs can find survivors in places difficult for humans to search – they can climb ladders, tunnel and navigate through debris.

Not every dog can become a search-and-rescue dog. Canines must be athletic, brave, capable of single-minded focus and willing to please their handlers. Training for FEMA-certification takes at least one year and must continue through the dogs’ lifetime – about 10 years.

Demand for search-and-rescue dogs is high – there are currently not enough dogs to supply each emergency team that needs their help. But some organizations are working to find and train more search-and-rescue dogs.

For example, National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in Ojai, Calif., and Nutro Products’ Natural Choice dog food have joined together to raise awareness about the need for more FEMA-certified canine search teams.

The SDF produces highly-trained, FEMA-certified canine search teams. The SDF finds its dogs in shelters – many successful search-and-rescue dogs only narrowly escape euthanasia – and they complete the rigorous training.

The SDF pairs the trained dogs with firefighters, who use the dogs as part of their emergency response teams. The SDF, a nonprofit organization, ensures that every dog – even those who do not complete the program – receive complete care for life.

Today, there are only 150 Advanced Certified canine teams in the U.S. More search-and-rescue dog teams will help boost national security and disaster preparedness. Americans can help support the SDF and its efforts by donating money online at www.foodforheroes.com or buying Nutro Natural Choice Branddog food – every bag sold helps support the SDF. – Courtesy of NewsUSA.

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