In Training

sophie searach and rescue

I have been in training for two years now, with Alpha Search and Rescue. BTW, I am the one not drooling on the left.  “Elle” wanted me to work HR (human remains), but I enjoy the chase too much, so I am a Trailing Dog, and I love it!  This discipline consists of ‘scenting’ a missing person’s article and following, or tracking their scent to find them. There is always a reward at the end if I am successful. I prefer the tasty treat rather than a toy. This game is sort of like Hide and Seek. ‘Yeah, I’ve been searchin’ A-a searchin’ Oh, yeah, searchin’ every which a-way.’ When we  are fully certified, (both of us have to be) we will be able to volunteer for real searches when called out by the police. It is not play time, it is time to work, and I am expected to know the difference…’blah, blah, blah…’ The HR dogs, the Area dogs, and my group-the Trailing Dogs enjoy every minute of the job.

At times we join with another volunteer group, Faithful Friends, to visit nursing homes, hospitals, and teen facilities.  Dogs, as well as cats, gerbils, birds, and even horses (small ones of course), along with their persons join this therapy group. If you bring your gerbil, just don’t name it , ‘Cookie,’ because we dogs think of it as a treat.  When visiting the nursing homes, we travel in pairs and encourage residents to pet, stroke and cuddle us.  I can’t imagine being left behind while my person goes away to live in another home.  I know Elle would miss me terribly.  Sometimes, the people talk to us and sometimes they just  quietly scratch our ears. ‘ Lean on me, when you’re not strong. And I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.’ I am happy to bring a moment of joy to these lovely people who have such interesting stories to share.

                                            Alpha Search and Recovery

Havok getting ready to search.
Havok getting ready to search.

is a Search and Rescue team  serving the greater Houston and surrounding areas in the search for missing persons.  The team is comprised of all volunteers and their dogs. Kristin and Nick began this group in the Clear Lake area.  They organize and train all the volunteers twice a week on Saturdays and Tuesdays.  Anyone interested in joining would need to have their dogs evaluated, attend training, and eventually pass the tests.

Sophie gives them  for being so caring and devoted to helping others.

Wazoo Survival Gear

The official Wazoo vehicle.
The official Wazoo vehicle (above) and gear (below).

Nick, who helps lead the Alpha Search group, takes his interest in survival techniques a step further.  He owns and operates Wazoo Survival Gear which began as a hobby with a goal to save lives.  The products are hand-made and consist of belts, dog collars (of course), key chains, bracelets, and more.  All sorts of survival gear, like fishing hooks and wire, fire starters, etc. are hidden in the weaving of the bracelets and dog collars.  Very cool!  You can even have your dog’s name engraved on the collars.   Check out the website…lots of neat gear.

Sophie gives them  for combining art, innovation, and helpful tools all wrapped (or weaved) into one.

Faithful Friends

faithful friends picture newspaper

The Ministry has more than 300 volunteers

Faithful Friends offers positive encounters with companion animals with the hope of benefiting people both physically and emotionally. Shari Ferguson had heard about animal-assisted therapy at a  dog show and started this Clear Lake, Texas group supported by University Baptist Church .  With the Canine Good Citizen certification in hand, senior citizen facilities were contacted and visits were offered.  Now monthly calendar visits include senior centers, teen-help facilities, and children’s development centers.

Sophie gives them  for helping others to feel better and not miss there pets so much.

Sophie is in a generous mood.