A rescue dog searches for survivors or victims in the debris field. Photo: JOSHUA TRUJILLO, SEATTLEPI.COM Used with permission.
Search, Rescue, Recovery
I have a visceral reaction to such devastating natural disasters as the one in Oso, because it was a mudslide that killed my dad many years ago.
The Oso mudslide was a catastrophe for the communities in Oso and Darrington, WA. In terms of dealing with the consequences, the word "incomprehensible" comes to mind. Steadfast in all the turmoil have been the hardworking search and recovery dogs. I want to recognize and honor their heroic efforts and that of their trainers at the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue K9 division.
It takes a lot to support a dog team. My goal is to raise $2014 for SCVSAR K9, and every cent (after Indiegogo and Paypal fees) raised will go there regardless of whether the minimum goal amount is reached. You are given the option to give any dollar amount you choose (straight donations are 100% tax deductible) or you can select from the list of perks and specific dollar amounts.
What Kind of Person......Trains a SAR dog? Someone with an innate love for dogs, and a driving need to respond to a crisis in the community.
...Donates to this campaign? Someone who recognizes and has the highest respect for the overwhelming amount of mental and physical fortitude needed in this kind of work.
…IS a SAR dog? "Woof. Woof woof." (Translation: "I'm a dog. Just doing what is needed, because I am a dog, I am smart, and a hard worker, loyal, and kind.")
What's That, Lassie?
Volunteer K9 handlers pay all their own expenses for their equipment as well as what is needed for the dog. Training to certification takes about two years; constant training is required in order to be mission-ready. Here are a few examples provided by a K9 team member of what your dollars will help purchase:
- $50 - K9 first aid kit to be carried in field
- $60 - k9 cooling vest for warm weather conditions
- $50 - K9 search vest for identification
- $600 - Garmin astro with dog collar for tracking dog in the field and navigation. Almost all of our team members personally purchase one of these.
- $35 - short range hand held radio (we all carry these)
- $400 - VHF hand held mission radio - most of us carry these. We also carry a supply for our team on missions
- $100 - assorted collars and leashes
- $20 - night lights for dog collars for night searches
- $80 - headlamps for handlers for night searchers
- $100 - k9 life vest for water searches or transport to mission location
- $20 - $50 - portable water bowls, toys/dog snacks for rewards
- $20 - K9 energy bars for in-field energy replenishment
- $100 - K9 doggles and ear muffs for helicopter transport
- $25 - muzzle for helicopter transport
Meet Sable, the Search and Rescue Dog
Sable, German Shepherd/Lab was born on December 13, 2005 and was brought home by Seth and Brenda Stone on January 28, 2006. It was her destiny to become a Search Dog for Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue. At approximately six months of age, Sable started her training and by the age of two, she and Seth had certified for the first time. At the age of 4, Sable was training and jumped over a log only to get her foot caught in a hole on her way down. She ended up needing a full knee replacement on her left side. A year later, due to the compensation of using her right leg, that knee needed to be replaced as well. This set Sable back in her training, but has since fully recovered and recertified twice. Seth and Sable plan to recertify for the final time this coming Fall. Sable will be almost 9 and will most likely retire within 2 years of that.
Sable Stone is a valued and loved member of both the Stone Family and the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue K9 Team. When she is not searching or training to search, she enjoys playing Frisbee, eating Frosty Paws and squeaking toys.
Photo: Martin Kaste/NPR, used with permission.
SCVSAR is a 501c3 non-profit organization and your donation is thus 100% tax deductible if you forgo rewards in exchange for your gift. You may instead choose to receive tangible goods, in which case the contribution is not tax exempt.
Here are some concrete tokens of gratitude and reminders of your giving spirit:
*Tree of Life Keychain (pictured below)
*Illustrated Art Print by Illustriddler LLC (in progress)
*Calligraphy (in progress) of poem: "The God of Lost Things" by Neile Graham
Journalism and News
- WARNING: very evocative text from the Oso site. I could not read this well-researched, informative and frank story... was only able to rapidly and gingerly skim it, but it confirmed my instinct that this is the right way to help. Deep Into Darkness: SAR Dogs and the Oso Mudslide. Excerpt: "Volunteers still have lives at home and must pay bills just like everyone else, and working The Pile does not result in monetary gain. And so the number of searchers fluctuates on a daily basis as volunteers give everything they have to the recovery, their time, energy, emotion, personal finances – and then give a little more. And when they have nothing left, K9 SAR teams take a look around at the destruction surrounding them, and find more to give."
- Memorial attached to surviving spruce tree one of the few trees left standing after the mudslide
THANKS AGAIN and Other Ways You Can HelpThis is a personally motivated project for me and has been a powerful journey of remembrance and discovery. The Pacific Northwest is my lifelong home.
Be on the lookout in a few months for the orchestral suite I am composing in response to the Oso tragedy in honor of those affected.
If you are unable to donate at this time, please get the word out and make some noise about this campaign.