Search and Rescue Dog Retires in a "Blaze" of Glory
Santa Barbara - 12th, 2013
Barbara County Search & Rescue dog “Blaze” formally entered retirement this
past weekend at a private ceremony located on a ranch where he and handler
Juanita Smith regularly trained. Blaze, a CARDA (California Rescue Dog
Association) certified search dog was surrounded by other search dogs, dog
handlers, Search & Rescue team members, and Sheriff’s Office personnel as
they paid tribute to his nine years of service.
“I would like to say that I
trained ‘Blaze’ but in reality, he trained me,” said Smith. “There were times
on the trail that I would give a little back pressure on the lead and ask Blaze
if he was sure; he would look back at me and with his body language say ‘trust
me, I got it,’ …and he would be right.”
“I had several occasions where I
called out Juanita and Blaze and every time we found evidence that Blaze was on
the track” said Lt. Brad McVay of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. “I
had great faith in Juanita and Blaze as a team and knew if anyone could locate
our search subject it was them.”
Over the past 12 years, Blaze
assisted on 81 searches, including 52 in-county and 29 out-of-county searches
totaling 533 hours. Among his local career highlights were the 2005 North County
search for a missing motorcyclist, and the 2010 Santa Barbara Backcountry search
for a missing swimmer last seen at the White
Rock Campground. Serving out-of-county, Smith and Blaze were a part of the 2009
Malibu State Park search for Mitrice Richardson; and the 2010 San Diego search
for missing juvenile Chelsea King. Blaze’s deployments spanned 12,199 travel
miles – not including his regular trainings.
This is Smith’s 2nd working dog. A
former K9 handler with the Santa Barbara City Police Department, Smith worked
with Patrol K-9 “Guss” for five years and had several criminal apprehensions
credited to their career. A new Border Collie puppy, “Caper,” is in training to
be CARDA-certified mission-ready as a Human Remains Detection dog.
Humans drop about 40,000 skin
cells per minute by evaporated perspiration, respiratory gasses, or
decomposition gasses released by bacterial action on skin or tissues and every
human produces a distinctive and different odor. Trailing dogs are trained in
scent discrimination, and when given an uncontaminated scent article from the
missing person, a properly trained trailing dog can follow the isolated scent of
that missing person.
CARDA is the country’s largest
search dog group, setting the gold standard for search dog requirements.
Certified teams are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Santa Barbara County Search &
Rescue, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization. To find out
more or to support the team visit www.sbcsar.net .
For all Media Inquiries Please Contact:
PIO Kelly Hoover
Business Hours: (805) 681-4100