Tales of the Sarschips

I would like to welcome you to Sarschips adventures. I know you will enjoy sharing all of the heartwarming services that Fox, Wooly and Magic contribute to our community in Search and Rescue work.

You may wish to go and get your box of Kleenex now, for we will make you laugh, make you think, and most likely make you cry. I am so very proud of these little Black Angels. And I hope you will enjoy our "book in the making"

You are welcome to share this site with your friends. Leave me e-mail if you need more info about our breed or search training. But please do not copy and pass on any of these stories...without my permission as all are copyrighted.

Thanks for coming to share my life with Schips...In The Service Of Man.
For We Serve, That Others May Live....


This is the first written story that started this page.
It is more of a background type and explains the "disciplines" of search dogs...Tracking/Trailing..Air..Water..Cadaver

Search and Rescue K-9'S

Search and Rescue is a very special calling for me. I have trained many dogs for this work as the Training Director of Central Arkansas Search And Rescue K-9'S. I can tell you, that for me, only the Schip will do. It is a special bonding that comes from a deep love of this breed.

Many of us will remember the horrifying scenes that played night after night in the OK City disaster. Among the human rescue workers, we caught sight of the brave dogs who worked at their sides. The two Schips and I awaited the call. We were on stand-by. Waiting. Hoping to be allowed to serve, but relieved when we were not needed. I had looked deep inside and realized the special training needed, and found myself and the Schips lacking.

Our training has three types of "nose" work. The first is "Tracking". The art of taking scent from the ground where a human has walked, and following it to the source. Here the dog has his nose to the ground and slowly follows to the victim.

Second is "Trailing". This is where the dog will catch scent that is deposited by human passage or wind, on the ground, trees, grass, shrubs or buildings. The human body SHEDS (yep you read that correct...we shed) about 200 cells per step and these are blown or carried on the wind. The dogs head is carried up and straight ahead.

Third is the "Air scenting" dog who moves with head lifted to catch the scent carried by the wind. These are called "rafts". Each person, even identical twins, have different smells. Like finger prints, the dog can be taught to identify and follow one scent among the millions.

That October there was a seminar at Wall Doxey State Park, MS, offered by the North American Search Dog Network. This is a national group from all over  the USA and Canada. One of the courses offered was the FEMA Disaster with Bill Dotson, who is the greatest teacher.

We arrived with excitement to stares, teasing, (right of passage with Schips) and then deep interest as they watched us work. The pressure was on us now. From Disaster agility to "Bark Box" to Building searches, the Little Black Dog did it ALL; and better than some of the 39 big dogs with us!

It was a hard and demanding week, full of challenges for dogs and handlers. The agility included a 6' x12' section of chain link fence that rested at an angle against a beam 3 feet off the ground. It rocked as the dogs climb up and onto the beam that was 4" wide. Now along the beam and onto a platform to jump over a 3' wide by 3' deep hole to a grate on the opposite side. Over the down lumber and out to the end of the 6' scaffolding. must stop. Turn. Down...must stop and drop. Come...all with no help from the handler who is 6 to 10 feet away. Fox carefully navigated all and had the courage to jump over the big hole. Of course the 12" board is a 4 lane highway to a 13" Schip! Any excuse for a Schip to play King of the Hill.

The "Bark Box" is a 4' x4' x 4' plywood box that holds a person (I didn't say Comfortable!). The dog must locate and bark for 30 seconds to alert. Digging with the bark is acceptable. As a Schip loves to "announce" and is good at digging, this was no problem. We just had to make it LOUD instead of the "grumble" that Fox likes to do to the people inside the box. Now this does come with drawbacks. You can NEVER close a door in my house with Fox or Magic on the other side...loud barks and scratching will soon occur. No bedroom or bathroom door is safe...all bear the scars of the "digs" to rescue me!

As you can see, training a search dog is a full time commitment. It requires love of dogs, time, love of public service at no pay, and a great deal of talent in dog and handler.

Keeping cool in the face of danger. Good at puzzle solving. Knowledge of map, compass, navigation, first aid and survival for the handler. The ability to use radios and rescue equipment, for although our main purpose is working dogs, we always help with recovery when possible.

Most of our team have First Responder or EMT training. I have the EMT training thanks to the Little Rock Fire Dept who donated my course. Most dog and handler teams take 2 years to certify the first time they train a dog. After that it's faster, according to the dogs ability to do each of the steps...scent work, agility, obedience. The problem solving and courage, combined with the willingness to please are the most important traits. The dogs must be friendly to all people and with other dogs.

Of course we never stop training, as there are so many areas to learn about. Cadaver, Water search, Wilderness, Urban Tracking, Visual tracking (for people) and of course the Disaster training.

Would this Course be enough? Only time and training would tell...but that will be the next story. Till then Pat Boggs and Fox, Magic and Wooly will continue searching. Many more await...God grant me courage.

The music you're listening to is "Fire and Rain."

[Stories Home]  [Burning Need]  [The Flood]  [Molly]  [Aaron]  [Just Another Day]  [Water Search]  [Mock Search]  [Murder Most Foul]  [Gone Fishing]  [Once Again]  [Cossatot River Search]  [Return to Life]  [Too Old for This]  [Lord Vincent]  [Up From The Depths]  [Citizenship]   [Search Schip]  [Marmaduke Search]  [Lilly and Jamie]  [White Water Killer]  [Blood, Sweat 'N Cheers]

All original images, graphics, photos, backgrounds, and text belong to DHS. 1999.
Reproduction of any kind without permission is prohibited. Rights to music belong to the creators. Rights to individual dog photos belong to their owners.
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