As help pours into earthquake-ravaged Haiti the number of people trapped under rubble awaiting rescue is uncertain. The fastest and most affective way to locate those buried alive is with search and rescue dogs, often referred to as “sniffer dogs.” Dozens of professionally trained “sniffer dogs” have come to Haiti’s aid in an unprecedented worldwide effort.
After the earthquake hit January 12, the United States immediately sent a 72-member team including many rescue dogs to the devastated country to help locate and dig out survivors. Britain, Peru, Mexico, France, Russia, Taiwan, and many other countries quickly followed suit.
The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (NDSDF) has played an integral role in recruiting and training dog rescue teams to send to Haiti. NDSDF executive director Debra Tosch said, “This is the day that our teams have trained for; when the unthinkable happens, SDF teams stand ready to respond, bringing hope and comfort to victims and their loved ones.”
One such heroic team is California firefighter Bill Monahan and his Border Collie Hunter. Hunter used his “sniffer dog” training to locate three young girls who were trapped under 4 feet of broken concrete. Because of his discovery, the girls were extricated safely and given first aid. -Sarah Hyde