Friday, January 15, 2010

Search and Rescue Dogs from Around the World Go to Haiti

I received this article in my email from a veterinarian and I feel it is important to post it here also.  I am not even beginning to compare my little man with the "official" search and rescue dogs out there.  Sometimes my Satch has trouble finding his toys, so I don't think he would be of any help in Haiti.  However, there are real search and rescue dogs and I think it is wonderful that so many from all around the world are heeding the call for help.  Historiscally, rat terriers were used for "going underground" in the hunt, but I'm not sure that my Satchmo knows that.
 
At the end of the article is a plea for help and if you can donate anything, please do.  Our friends and family around the world are doing all they can to help the population of Haiti and we can help too.  Anything at will be helpful.  Not all of us have "sniffer" dogs, but we all have money for coffee or cokes that we could send along to the rescue organizations.
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By Jennifer Viegas

Professionally trained "sniffer" search dogs from around the
world have been recruited this week to aid rescue operations
in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. The effort appears to be unprecedented
in scale, matching the devastation already documented in the
Caribbean country.

French teams with "sniffer dogs" were seen boarding vans yesterday,
 headed to the airport on their way to Haiti. The dogs are trained
to serve, so many excitedly jumped forward on their leashes in
apparent anticipation.

China dispatched a chartered plane containing multiple sniffer
dogs and 10 tons of tents, food and medical equipment. A somber
ceremony was held at the Beijing airport before the teams left,
with handlers and their dogs lined up, equipment at the ready.
The team from China arrived in Haiti today and is presently at
work there.

An Itar Tass bulletin reports that a team from the Russian Ministry
for Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) left Moscow  today, also bound
for Haiti. The IL-76 plane contained 22 rescuers in total. Among
the team were eight doctors, two psychologists and six canine
specialists with search and rescue dogs. Another news report
mentioned that the dogs--3 Labradors, 2 golden retrievers and a
German shepherd--helped to ease the tension of those on board the
plane, which had a stop off in Iceland. The dogs are traveling
freely, without cages, but onlookers are discouraged from having
contact with the on-duty dogs. An EMERCOM spokesperson said, "The
dogs are to work heavily in stress conditions and their state
cannot be put in the slightest jeopardy."

Peruvian firefighters Gustavo Villavisencio, with sniffer dog
Duncan, and Vanessa Diaz, with her trained dog Rory, were seen
preparing to depart for Haiti yesterday.

The Mexican Navy has also brought in a team with rescue dogs, as
well as food, equipment and other supplies for the earthquake
victims.

A large team from Taiwan filed into a local airport, once again
bound for Haiti. At least one rescue dog was seen accompanying
their contingent.

Britain's international development minister, Douglas Alexander,
reports that a 64-member team, including sniffer dogs, has left for
Haiti from London's Gatwick Airport, according to  The Straits Times.

Dozens of other countries, including Spain, Iceland, Canada,
Germany, Venezuela and more, have pledged to send rescue teams,
doctors, cash and supplies. Most are already on the scene at the
Caribbean island.

The U.S. was among the first to help, with President Barack Obama
saying that Americans continue to "stand ready to assist the people
of Haiti." According to Rajiv Shah, and reported by Business Week,
the United States has sent two 72-member search and rescue teams
with dogs to help dig out survivors. Shah was designated by Obama
to coordinate the U.S. relief effort.

American organizations that train search and rescue dogs have
issued calls to action. For example, the National Disaster Search
Dog Foundation posted a deployment at 10 PM last night. Six dog-
and-handler teams have been sent to Haiti. (If you visit the NDSDF
website using the aforementioned link, you can watch a video
showing the early stages of the deployment.)

NDSDF executive director Debra Tosch said, "Our hearts go out to
our neighbors in Haiti, and we're honored to be able to help find
survivors of this terrible tragedy as part of CA-TF2 (the code name
for the task force). 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."

Images and additional videos showing the NDSDF dogs at work on
other missions are at the foundation's YouTube page.

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Haiti Earthquake: How You Can Help The Victims:
-------------------------------------------------

* The American Red Cross is accepting donations by phone. You can
text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross's efforts, or
call 1-800-Redcross or 1-800-257-7575. Visit their Web site to
find out more.

* Interaction, the largest coalition of U.S.-based NGOs focused
on the world's poor, has set up a Haiti relief donation page,
listing several participating organizations where you can donate.

* UNICEF is also accepting donations for the relief efforts in
Haiti and the Caribbean region. Visit their Web site or call
1-800-4UNICEF to donate.
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