Local News

February 18, 2013

Disaster experts promote preparedness


Also attending the event was Laurie Parsons, board president of the Elmore SPCA in Peru, along with one of her dogs, Arizona.

Arizona is mostly German Shepherd, with a touch of Rhodesian Ridgeback, as evidenced by her slightly webbed paws.

Parsons said she was pleased the Elmore SPCA was invited to the event. When disasters strike, pets are affected too.

“Elmore is working to get groups together for projects like cruelty prevention, rescue and things of that nature,” she said.

And of course, they are always encouraging pet adoption, of which Arizona is an example.

The role of animals in rescue situations was highlighted by the Champlain Valley Search and Rescue K9 unit. Tricia Myatt, licensed veterinary technician and canine medic with the unit, talked about the group’s work.

“We do swift-water rescue in emergencies, like when someone is trapped with water rising,” she said. “During Hurricane Irene, a lot of people were stranded in their homes along the riverbank. We have boats and gear to get them to safety.”

Myatt also talked about how the Rescue K9 Unit’s trained animals help in such crises. One such animal is a German Shepherd named Inca, a water-recovery trained dog who searches for missing persons.

For a future rescue dog, training begins as a puppy. As a result, Inca loves the water and has no problem with climbing.

“The training is work-play; they get over potential fears and learn to love it.”

The dogs even participate in helicopter training.

“Inca has been lowered from a helicopter for rescues on the sides of cliffs. We would repel down with the dog, and she goes down in a harness just like we do.”




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