Sunday, March 13, 2011

K-9s leave for Japan to aid in search and rescue efforts

Firefighter/paramedic Gary Durian of Yorba Linda is one of six canine handlers who arrived Saturday in Japan with a Los Angeles-based search-and-rescue team to look for survivors buried under rubble and debris.

Durian and his dog, Baxter, will spend an indefinite amount of time in northern Japan, which was ravaged by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami Friday that Japanese officials estimate could have killed more than 1,000 people.

Article Tab : Firefighter/paramedic Gary Durian of Yorba Linda is one of six canine handlers who have been dispatched to northern Japan to assist with search-and-rescue efforts. Durian is pictured with his teammate, Baxter, a golden retriever.

"It's of the utmost importance right now to do all the rescue possible," said canine handler Marc Valentine, a Montebello Fire Department captain who also trains search-and-rescue dogs in Orange County. "In the first few minutes, other people come and rescue the ones they can hear crying for help. It's the people who are buried underneath debris and rubble that we're looking for. Fourteen days out, they were still finding people alive in Haiti."

Durian, who works for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, is part of Los Angeles Task Force 2, a 72-member emergency response team that is one of two nationwide authorized by the U.S. State Department to provide aide during international disasters. The team includes doctors, structural engineers, paramedics and firefighters, plus 75 tons of rescue supplies and equipment.

Durian and Baxter, a golden retriever, traveled to the disaster zone on a chartered flight along with Virginia Task Force 2, the other team charged with international disaster response, according to nonprofit National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.

Durian and Baxter were certified in canine search and rescue in 2007. In 2008, they were deployed to the Gulf Coast to search for survivors following hurricanes Gustav and Ike. They've also been deployed to several local disasters, including a major car accident in 2009, according to the Search Dog Foundation.

Baxter was discovered at a Northern California animal shelter in February 2006 by a Search Dog Foundation volunteer who saw potential in the canine.

"The first time the group of new handlers was introduced to the dogs in Baxter's graduating class, Baxter ran over to Gary Durian of the L.A. County Fire Department and lay down by him for a brief moment," the Search Dog Foundation said in a statement. "And the rest is history."
One of six Virginia Task Force 1 dogs being deployed on search and rescue efforts in Japan.
One of six Virginia Task Force 1 dogs being deployed on search and rescue efforts in Japan. (Photo courtesy of Fairfax County)


Relief organizations and governments around the world are responding to help people, and now several groups are stepping in to assist the animals impacted by the disaster as well. There are a number of ways for people here and abroad to help the people and pets that were hurt or displaced. Sacramento pet expert and author Gina Spadafori reported today on recommendations made by her colleague, veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker.

For those interested in doing so, Becker suggests contacting the following organizations:

World Vets is an international veterinary aid organization that provides “free veterinary aid, resources and support during times of disaster all over the world”. Their non-profit efforts spans 25 countries and 6 continents, and handles both veterinary issues and human health issues caused by animal-related infectious diseases.

World Vets is already working to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami, and desperately needs donations. To learn more, click here for their website.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is a non-profit, FEMA-certified agency that searches for survivors in the wreckage of catastrophic events such as the one is Japan.

NDSDF has already deployed six Canine Disaster Search Teams to respond to the current crisis; each task force is made up of approximately 72 members (including both humans and Urban Search and Rescue dogs) and some 75 tons of rescue equipment. To learn more and to donate, click here for their website.

National Canine Cancer Foundation


Matilda said...

Hi Scout and Freyja,
I saw a lot of search and rescue
dogs arrived in Japan from abroad on TV. We really appreciate it.
A lot of people from many countries concern about Japan.

Frankie Furter said...

This is a Perfect Post to show how WE make the World a Better Place.

MAXMOM IN SA said...

Amazing animals under desperate circumstances. My heart breaks for those poor souls.

Benny and Lily said...

good thoughts to all those peoples
Benny & Lily

Piappies World said...

It is heartbreaking to see how much destruction the earthquake and tsunami have caused to Japan. We pray for the rescue teams that they find more and more survivors. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai, Wai-Max & Forgie

♥I am Holly♥ said...

We saw on the news earlier that they had arrived there. We all need to help. Lots of love, Holly and mom

Blue said...

Our thoughts go out to the people of Japan affected by the devastation caused by the earthquake. The search and rescue dogs do a fantastic job and are true heros.

Oskar said...

What a great post. We like seeing the pictures of the teams, thanks for posting them.

Nubbin wiggles,

ForPetsSake said...

My sincere thoughts and prayers to those brave rescuers and their faithful pups. I pray for their safety and for their swift return. Nothing more admirable than working dogs and their handlers in my opinion.

Pepsi the Lazy Bum said...

Hey Scout and Freyja,
Thanks fur dropping by my blog. I love making new furiends, and you sure seem like a nice bunch of pals to have! :)

Our hearts are broken fur the victims of the disaster, and I am keeping the working dogs and handlers in my thoughts and prayers.


Tweedles -- that's me said...

my mind and my heart is soooo consumed with sadness that has happened to the people of Japan and our world.
the brave dogs and brave people are so selfless... thinking not of themselves... they are giving all they can to help. they are so brave.