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Devoted Canine Heroes: K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas      
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Search and rescue dogs serve on the frontlines locating people missing after natural disasters, lost children, injured hikers and others, being ready at a moment’s notice to bravely endure the elements and save lives. Supreme Master Ching Hai, world renowned humanitarian, artist and spiritual teacher, speaks of her admiration and concern for these devoted canines.

And I saw many dogs, you know, they used for rescue mission. Oh, they just walk in like nothing, but I feel so bad about them.

The dogs walk in the sharp, broken glasses or anything like that. Even chemical leaking or anything, or germs or danger.

And these are precious dogs. They have been trained for years. And they even lay down their life for anyone at command. You have to protect that dog.

To show Her loving support for search dogs and their human partners, Supreme Master Ching Hai has generously contributed over US$80,000 to search-and-rescue teams in 18 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Panama, the Philippines, Slovenia, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA. Today’s program features one of these courageous teams, namely K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas.

Founded in September 2000, K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas is a non-profit all-volunteer search and rescue unit based in Houston, Texas, the fourth largest US city. Let us now hear from Mary Jane Boyd, the training coordinator and search manager for the group who has been involved in search and rescue work for 11 years.

We require all of our search dogs to be certified, to some type of national standard, the National Search Dog Alliance offers certifications on a nationwide basis. Our primary purpose of our organization is for us to respond with our K-9 partners to requests from law enforcement or other agencies in the case of a missing person. All of our canine handlers are certified in ground search and rescue as well as K-9 search and rescue.

Team members, human and canine, must undergo rigorous training in various areas before they are allowed to undertake a real mission.

We take crime scene awareness, so if we stumble upon something, we know how to respond. We all have first aid, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certifications. We also have to train in land navigation so the searchers don’t get lost. And in addition to that we do a lot of awareness level courses such as swift water awareness, confined space awareness, and hazardous materials awareness, just so that we can be aware of certain situations that we may encounter when we’re out on the field.

Because we are volunteers we all have full-time jobs, and so (sure) our time is somewhat limited as to the time we can commit to the dog’s training. But generally speaking most search dogs are trained within 15 to 18 months, would be a good average.

Crucial to the success of search and rescue missions is the tacit understanding between each canine team member and their human partner. Some canine team members are able to locate a living person in a large area such as a forest by air-scenting, where the dog works off-lead and points his or her nose high in the air to identify and follow the scent emanating from a person. Once the subject is found, the canine will return to their human partner and lead them to the missing person. Another common canine search technique is called “trailing.”

Trailing dogs are where you take an article of clothing or a scent article from the person that’s missing and then the dog is scented off of the article and then they will track or trail the path or the track that the person walked, in order to locate them.

What are some of the qualities found in a good search and rescue dog?

We look for dogs that like to retrieve, because it shows that they will pursue the object that they’ve been trained to go after until they get it. And we like to see that kind of drive in a dog. It’s often more difficult to determine whether or not a puppy is going to be successful. On an adult dog it’s a lot easier because you can test the dog and you can tell whether or not the probabilities are there that the dog will be successful.

Through experience, and seeing and knowing what we’ve seen be successful, we are now able to predict with a fairly good rate of success, what dogs are going to make it. These dogs are working dogs, they’re a little bit more, I guess you might say energetic than your normal family pet.

We asked Mary Jane Boyd about the common breeds that typically serve as search and rescue partners. Similar to adopting a dog as a family companion, if one wants to take in a dog that potentially could be a search dog one day, the best place to look is the local animal shelter!

The most common dogs that we see are Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds; you’ll see Malinwas, Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, any of the working breeds are generally the norm. Sometimes there are plenty of working dogs that are not pure breed dogs, there are also, dogs that came from a rescue situation or from a pound that make perfectly good search dogs.

When we return, Mary Jane Boyd will give us a live demonstration of search and rescue training. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants and our program spotlighting K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas from Houston, Texas, USA.

For these enthusiastic search and rescue canine team members, training is as fun as playing.

This is Bosco. He is a one year old Black Lab and he is in training for area search, which means he is trained to locate human scent in a big area. It’s pretty simple. So I’m going to go down here, just a little way and hide for Bosco and he’s going to come after me and when he finds me he’s going to bark, so she’ll know that he found somebody. When I’m satisfied with the amount of barking he has done, then I’m going to give him a toy and that’s his reward. That’s what he’s working for, is to play ball. And so it’s a lot of fun for them.

Being out in the field presents many different challenges with no two missions being exactly alike. Thus a human partner must also try and think ahead to keep their canine friend as safe as possible.

When you go into a search operation you’re briefed on the hazards that may be in an area. And so by knowing what the hazards are in the search area, we can try to anticipate what problems we may find when we field the dogs.

We have to be careful not to work a dog in an area where there’s dangerous traffic. The best protection we can give our dogs is to know the area that we’re in. And the most important thing is through the obedience training that we do with our dogs outside of our search training, is to be able to call them back or stop them when we see them getting into trouble.

Pete is an eight year old black Labrador Retriever, he’s a human remains detection dog. And what I want to show you first is one of the things we use to keep them safe is what we call an emergency stop. So what I’m going to do, in just a second, I’m going to call him to me. And so one of you, you say “when,” but you’ve got to give me room to stop him, so don’t let him get too close. Whenever you say “when,” I’m going to tell him, and he’s going to stop.

Just say “when.” (Okay.) Or “now” or whatever. Just tell me what you’re going to say so I know when I hear it.

When

Alright we’re going to try that again, he was moving. Pete, come here. I’m just going to stop him this time. Sit! Sit!

Here! What a good boy! (Good dog!) Yes. Good dog, that’s a boy.

Being the veterinarian responsible for the team’s canines, Tanya now informs us how to keep search and rescue dogs fit, healthy and happy.

I think the biggest thing is making sure that they stay active outside of their search life. Whether that’s going on regular walks or playing fetch or even with training outside of organized training, they’re getting exercised in that way. Also just the proper food and just making sure that they’re taken care of, basically.

In their spare time, the lovely canines and the dedicated volunteers from K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas further contribute to the community by conducting various outreach programs to inform those of all ages about outdoor survival and safety.

We offer to go into schools or Boy Scout, Girl Scout organizations to talk about the search dogs and what they do. And we have a couple of programs; one is the “Hug A Tree” program for young children, where we explain what they should do if they should become lost. And often we also will, for adult groups as well, we’ll go in and we’ll do demonstrations with the dogs and we also talk to them about what they should do should somebody in their family become lost or go missing.

On behalf of Supreme Master Ching Hai, our Association members recently presented her loving contribution of US$1,000 to K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas for the care of their altruistic canine team members, along with her international #1 best sellers “The Dogs in My Life,” “The Birds in My Life” and “The Noble Wilds.”

On behalf of K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas, I would like to say thank you very much to the Supreme Master Ching Hai. We appreciate her generosity.

May Heaven bless the human and canine team members of K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas as well as other rescue groups all over the world who lovingly dedicate their time and energy to protect and save the lives of others. Their joyful, altruistic spirit is a light that radiates brilliantly throughout our world.

For more details on K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas, please visit

Thank you for joining us on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment, following Noteworthy News, here on Supreme Master Television. May all be blessed by the eternal love of the Divine.

How can humanity avoid imminent runaway climate change? What can each of us do to save our planet?

We have to get to zero carbon. It means zero meat. Zero meat! Good for us, good for everybody. It also means zero fossil fuels, we do that. It also means zero deforestation, which of course is just tied in with the meat, mainly.

Going veg is now a matter of survival for all life.

Be sure to watch “Dr. Peter Carter’s Zero Carbon World,” Wednesday, May 26 on Planet Earth: Our Loving Home.

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