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JoAnna Lou
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SAR Dogs in Haiti
Canines from around the world arrive to help the rescue efforts
Some of the Los Angeles search and rescue teams currently in Haiti. Baxter is the Golden Retriever in the back row.

Over the last week, search and rescue teams have come to Haiti from around the world to help find the thousands of survivors trapped in the rubble.

It always amazes me that, with all the technology we have today, dogs are still the best at navigating disaster areas and locating humans. 

The search and rescue canines that’ve congregated in the disaster area come from all walks of the earth. 

These heroic pups represent several countries and a multitude of different backgrounds. Some were bred specifically for search and rescue, others were family pets first, and some were even former rescues themselves.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation has deployed several teams out of California and Florida. You can follow their search efforts via their Twitter page, where they’re also posting biographies of the dogs currently hard at work in Haiti. 

I was particularly struck but the story of Baxter, a Golden Retriever who knows what it’s like to be saved. Baxter was adopted from a Northern California shelter four years ago and brought to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation by volunteer and veterinarian Jessica Drew. Baxter quickly proved to be a superstar at search and rescue work.

After basic training, Baxter was teamed up with his search and rescue partner, Gary Durian. But really, it was Baxter who chose the Los Angeles firefighter. When Baxter first saw Gary, he immediately ran over and lay down in front of his future handler.

Just one year after being pulled from the shelter, Baxter and Gary passed their FEMA Certification. They’ve since worked together at both national and local disasters, and are now in Haiti searching for survivors.

Haiti’s devastation is beyond words, but the rescue efforts are nothing short of amazing. It’s inspiring to see humans and canines from all over the world, working together to help Haiti in its darkest hour. 

Donations can be made to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation through their web site.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
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Submitted by Tamara | January 18 2010 |

I've been watching the updates from NSDF on Twitter and on their webpage. I just love what these rescue teams are all about, and I love that long-term commitment NSDF has to their teams :) Thanks for helping to spotlight their amazing efforts!

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