From April 29 to May 1, the “top” puppies from across British Columbia will be in Kelowna for training and certifications with the RCMP Dog Services.
After approximately 2,000 hours of training, COSAR’s Search and Rescue K9 and resident good boy, Chase, was certified in 2021. He will work hard with all the other experienced dogs for their annual revalidation.
COSAR’s Edward Henczel said that in 2021, Chase participated in 20 tasks and achieved several successes during that time.
“He definitely helped save lives,” handler Terry Downs said.
Chase traveled with the team for research on snowmobiles, helicopters and all-terrain vehicles, Downs said.
Trained dogs like Chase are more effective than humans in searches, Downs said. Dogs are able to follow their noses and cover large areas of difficult terrain to quickly locate missing people, Downs said.
All K9 SARs are under the direction and supervision of the RCMP Dog Services and teams are coached in their training throughout the year.
“We are incredibly fortunate in Kelowna and the Okanagan to have the support of local RCMP police dog handlers who are very supportive of using K9 SARs as an additional resource in the field,” said Downs. .
Henczel said K9 managers spend more than $10,000 a year on training, travel and equipment. The dogs and their handlers often travel across the province to train and assist other SAR teams that do not have K9s. Much of this cost is borne by the manager and his local SAR group.
Donations can be made on SAR websites.
“We are grateful to all members of the public who made generous donations towards Chase’s expenses,” Downs said.