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‘Good boy!’ Utah non-profit trains search and rescue dogs for disasters

Local News

CENTERVILLE, Utah (ABC4 News) – We really don’t deserve dogs. 

But there’s a group of dogs that certainly thinks we do. Utah Search Dogs is a non-profit based in Brigham City that trains breeder and rescue animals to be search and rescue K9s – helping humans in disastrous situations. The group met ABC4’s crews at a playground in Centerville to demonstrate the training. 

“If there are people lost that need to be found…we come out and help,” said Utah Search Dogs president Jayson Harames. The non-profit is totally self-funded (they do accept donations from time to time), training animals to help out law enforcement and emergency personnel in any kind of crisis – be it missing persons, avalanches or a mass casualty situation like an earthquake. 

These dogs use the power of their noses to find missing and endangered individuals in minutes. 

“They can go into rubble, they can identify if there is any human scent in there…and then the dogs are specialized to know whether the person is alive or deceased,” said Harames. 

For example, K9 Hannah was able to sniff out a “cadaver box” that had been buried within seconds of being let loose on its scent trail. In a real-world situation, it would likely take longer, but when Hannah found what she was looking for, she signaled to her handler she had succeeded by kneeling down. 

Such a good girl. 

While the situations these dogs dive into may seem perilous to humans, to them, it’s a fun game. When they succeed, they’re rewarded handsomely (with toys and playtime) though the dogs seemed to think the training itself was the reward. 

Utah Search Dogs trains K9s on the weekends. For more information, check out their website

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