Saving Lives One Sniff at a Time: The Life of a Rescue Dog

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Some four-legged friends and their handlers from Nebraska Task Force One are on the east coast helping with Hurricane Florence relief efforts.

Moses and his handler, Robin Greubel are part of Nebraska Task Force One and they respond within a moments notice when disaster strikes.

“When we were in Joplin Missouri, one of the things that would happen is they would send the dogs through, searching for missing people. And then it was our responsibility, me and the other handler I was witht we were the last dogs through the area before they would send in heavy equipment to begin clearing the area,” Greubel said

Two dogs from the task force are currently responding to Hurricane Florence and they started staging earlier this week.

“The dogs form Nebraska Task Force One that are currently deployed are ‘live find’ dogs because the focus remains on rescue. Recovery can happen later. The dogs can immediately tell the difference between a live human and dead human. Discrimination is not a problem for them,” Greubel said.

She said she spent hours training Moses to do this life saving job and is the Founder and CEO of the K9 Sensus Foundation.

“We have what is commonly known as starting ritual. So all of the FEMA search and rescue dogs work naked. So they have no vest and no collar because we don’t want them getting caught on any of the debris. So he will sit, I will remove his collar and I will release him to go search wherever he needs to go search. And I give him a cue and I tell him, “Go search,” and he jets off very quickly and begins his job,” Greubel said.

Once he’s found the person he’s looking for he will bark and Greubel will reward him with a simple game of tug and a treat.

“There are only 300 dogs in the nation trained to do what Moses does and there is no detector on the planet that is as good as a dog’s nose. They’ve tried for years to create one and they can’t. And the amount of training and expertise that goes into the development of these dogs to provide that first and last line of defense is crucial for public safety,” Greubel said.

You can donate to the K9 Sensus Foundation to help train more dogs and handlers here.