A Special Breed of Hero
Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs are excellent at tracking human life. They save lives with precision and unwavering commitment, a type of commitment that a sophisticated machine could never replicate.
Different situations call for different breeds.
The breed of dog used for different rescue operations varies greatly.
Large breeds and breeds with heavy coats are best for rescues during inclimate and cold temperatures, as well as for rescues that involve tough or rugged terrain.
Breeds with more acute olfactory senses are preferred for human searches, particularly when visibility is poor.
Smaller breeds are ideal for rescues involving tight situations, where barriers create near impassible obstacles.
In many rescue operations, more than one breed is needed to get the job done. The number of breeds, as well as the number of dogs, is proportional to the randomness and destructiveness of the event.
Dogs are designed for searching and rescuing humans.
Search and rescue dogs detect human scent. Although the exact processes are still being researched, dogs most likely smell the dead skin cells that fall off at a rate of 40,000 per minute. Other things that dogs can smell (even in tough situations) are evaporated perspiration, respiratory gases, or decomposition gases released by bacterial action on human skin.
Although all dogs have some characteristics needed for human rescue, Search and Rescue organizations define these as the most important traits:
Long, heavy dogs
Intelligent dogs that are communicable and easy to teach
Dogs that are sociable and have no aggressive tendencies
No matter what breed, size, and personality, dogs continue to be our noble and wise companions, our life savers, and our heroes.