Chats with the Chatfields

Ep 40 : Paws on the Ground: The Heroic Work of Urban Search and Rescue Dogs

March 07, 2023 Dr. Jen the vet and Dr. Jason Chatfield Season 1 Episode 40
Ep 40 : Paws on the Ground: The Heroic Work of Urban Search and Rescue Dogs
Chats with the Chatfields
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Chats with the Chatfields
Ep 40 : Paws on the Ground: The Heroic Work of Urban Search and Rescue Dogs
Mar 07, 2023 Season 1 Episode 40
Dr. Jen the vet and Dr. Jason Chatfield

Dr. Lori Gordon is not just any veterinarian - she takes care of urban search and rescue (USAR) know, the heroes that search for people following disasters or accidents!  Dr. Gordon enters the Chat Room to talk all about her path to such an incredible career and what working dogs mean to her.  Big shout to other veterinarians helping to save the world!

More on Dr. Gordon:

This episode is certified to provide 1 hr of PACCC CEU’s!  The unique code will be delivered during the episode, so listen up! Don’t know what PACCC is? And why would they be involved in CEU’s?  Pet lovers can get more information at

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Share this episode with a friend who needs to hear it...or might be interested in the topic...or just to make their day brighter! :)

Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Lori Gordon is not just any veterinarian - she takes care of urban search and rescue (USAR) know, the heroes that search for people following disasters or accidents!  Dr. Gordon enters the Chat Room to talk all about her path to such an incredible career and what working dogs mean to her.  Big shout to other veterinarians helping to save the world!

More on Dr. Gordon:

This episode is certified to provide 1 hr of PACCC CEU’s!  The unique code will be delivered during the episode, so listen up! Don’t know what PACCC is? And why would they be involved in CEU’s?  Pet lovers can get more information at

Show our sponsor some love:
FullBucket Veterinary Strength Supplements - the leader in digestive health for dogs, cats and horses

SUBSCRIBE to our show on Youtube or on our website:
Follow us on instagram @ChatfieldShow

Share this episode with a friend who needs to hear it...or might be interested in the topic...or just to make their day brighter! :)


dog, canines, veterinarian, search, people, find, human, teams, task force, gordon, working, rubble pile, veterinary, job, deploy, massachusetts, pet, handler, jason, urban


This episode is brought to you by full bucket veterinary strength supplements the leader in digestive health for dogs, cats and horses.


Welcome to this episode of chats with the Chatfields. This is a podcast to expand your idea of what impacts veterinarians, pet owners, and basically all animal lovers in the galaxy as humans. We are your hosts, I'm Dr. Jen the vet, and I'm Dr. Jason. And if you have not yet subscribed to our show, why not? just go to And subscribe today. And if you want to reach us, and you've got a message full of love and positivity, you can find me


and for everyone else with messages and real concerns. You can reach me at Okay,


I'm very excited. We have like a superhero in the chat room today. Jason, are you are you like I know you're a little distracted. You got some stuff going on?


Oh, ready. I'm excited. This is awesome. I just, I'm ready. I'm ready. I've already seen some cool pictures. I hope we can share those. I'm very excited. This is going to be great. Super interesting. And I'm ready with questions. So


okay, as always, Dr. Jason is ready with his notes and his questions. So let's bring her in our very special guest today in the chat room is our colleague, Dr. Lori Gordon. Dr. Gordon is a veterinarian. She works with veterinary surgical care, Inc, in New Hampshire. But also kind of I don't even think it's a side hustle because it's so professional, and so significant. But she also is a Veterinary Officer for the Massachusetts, Massachusetts Task Force One urban search and rescue team. And she's a Veterinary Officer with the National Veterinary Response Team. That's part of the Jason Do you know what that is?


No, but I love urban search and rescue. That just sounds super cool.


It sounds cool. Okay, but the National Veterinary response team is a part of the National Disaster Medical System. So if you have a natural disaster of any kind in your location, Dr. Gordon might be coming with her friends to help save you. Yeah, but we really want to focus today on urban search and rescue. So welcome, Dr. Gordon to the chat room.


Thank you very much.


Yes. Okay. So I have we like, I feel like we should, at first, like, tell people like I call it use our and I said urban search and rescue. But I mean, for the uninitiated, Urban Search, and yeah. Urban Search and Rescue.


Well, originally, FEMA, FEMA, was concerned about responding to disasters. And they created a system, the Federal Emergency Management Agency created a system of 28 teams across the United States to have a uniform cache, a uniform set of officers and leaders, and a method of responding to disasters. Originally, yes, urban search and rescue. But that has morphed into several other areas, because we do respond to many natural disasters as well.


Right? Not just urban, like, well, not urban, it


was originally designed for urban. And the Oklahoma City bombing World Trade Center would be classic examples of that. Yes. Then we had Hurricane Andrew had earthquake in Haiti, the landslide, and also Washington many things, several floods. And so we have modified our training our cash list, our canines training, as well to respond in all those different situations.


And when you're saying cash, like everyone, she's not saying like, they have their own currency, she mean cash, like CA, ch, E, cash of things, cache of tools, like your little bag of tricks, but it's big, but it's a box of things that you need to support yourself and your team in the field. Right? Yes. Okay. All right. So, um, so that's urban search and rescue, and it's dogs only, or is it horses? Is this like, is this different from like law enforcement dogs? Because we're talking about working dogs here, right?


Yes, they are working dogs, but they're specifically trained in search ly find in human remains. Those are the two areas that we concentrate on live fine was for many, many years, the only type of search dog that FEMA would have on their national teams. And then it became apparent that the human remains detection or cadaver dogs would be just is important and needed with the several things that are happening. So they did prove made it official to have cadaver dogs. And the first test of that was at the 2014 Oso. Washington landslide. I was there for three weeks with 21 service dogs, their recovery dogs for three weeks. Wow.


So that sounds super busy all the time. But I think I read in those many things that you do that you also are a veterinarian day to day, you know, doing normal stuff, quote, unquote, normal stuff. Is that true? Do you also do it? Or is this like your? Yeah, I guess I'm trying not to belittle it or say the wrong things. I don't. It just sounds like you're stretched way too thin, because you've got so much cool stuff happening. And then so what do you do during the day you save regular people, pets or what?


So I have veterinary surgical care, and I am the business. It's just me.


You own your own business. Also us makes it even entrepreneur.


I'm the only I'm the only employee. Everybody else. Why I did try working for someone else. Yeah. Once fired, I would say, oh, so I'm a traveling surgeon. So I did my my internship, I did a residency in New York City. And then I worked for someone then left and went out on my own. So I'm like a subcontractor. Yeah. Nick will call me and say, Dr. Gordon, we have a fracture a crucial mass or whatever, can you come do it? Some things need to be done more immediately, some things you scheduled week or next month? And so I have my truck full of my equipment, my cash, my cash? Because my instruments and my suture are very important to me.



Yes. To your patients, I would think as well, yeah.



And so then I go to the clinic, and I do that procedure, and then I leave, but I'm available to answer questions, and they do most of the follow up with this problem. I'll go back.



So I guess if the government calls or hurricane comes, or God forbid, we had some bombing, you don't have you just you just talk to your left hand and say, Hey, I gotta take off to save the world. And your right hand says no problem, no problem. And then you go, right,



I have to, I have to call the clinics and say, I'm sorry, I'm sure. And they know that up front. And most of the things I do either they'll go somewhere else, they'll refer them or call them surgeon in or they'll reschedule when I get.



Okay, so. So that's a lot of things. That's a lot of things. And so I think for, for a lot of folks, like we've seen on TV, we see, you know, that dogs, like so, we're gonna try chatterboxes not to slip into like regular nomenclature for responders. But we we what we see on TV a lot of times is we see dogs with a handler, and they're searching a pile. Right? They're looking at a pile. And so when we come back, because we're gonna take a short break, because I want to know, how does the veterinarian find themselves attached to an urban search and rescue team?



That's my first question.



I know, could they issue you a cape? And then secondly, I want to hear some stories. And I know everyone else does, too. So we're going to take a very short break, and then we'll be right back. So everyone Hang tight, because Don't worry, she's staying with us. We'll be right back. Dr. Jenn the vet, and I'm here with my friend and colleague, Dr. Keith lassen. He's got an incredibly interesting story all about full bucket health,



my college roommate and that school, housemate, Dr. Rob Franklin and I were collaborating on some cases, both of us were struggling with diarrhea in some of our patients, whether it was after a procedure or after after an illness. So we created a formulation but we didn't want to just create a formulation. We also wanted to create a movement and animal health, for being able to help animals in need through the use of bark products that we developed that really has resulted in our one for one giving program, which we're really proud of, as much as we are our formulations for dogs versus cats.



And so if you want to know more about their one for when giving it full bucket, or if you're interested in better supporting your dog, cat or horses, digestive health, head over to full bucket to learn more. Okay, and here we are, we're back with a real live veterinary superhero Dr. Laurie Gordon, who's a five day veterinary traveling veterinary surgeon. But then when called deploys with her Urban Search and Rescue Team, her use our team or with her federal team, the National Veterinary response team as a veterinarian. And my question is, so you said you told us that you you did a An interest in residency and surgery is your your bag. But how did you how as a veterinarian, do you find yourself working on a pile with with dogs like how did this happen?



Originally, I saw a lecture by Dr. Barry Kellogg and he was head of the V V mat, veterinary medical assistance team, which is the AVMA or the American Veterinary Medical Association version of veterinary



response team where it was, or it was, initially and



then they disbanded and kind of morphed into a federal entity, the National Veterinary Response Team. it fast. It just was so intriguing to me to think, because I did a lot of Emergency Medicine and Surgery during my internship and residency. And it just intrigued me to respond and I I, my bond, I love all animals truly, I want to say everything the rhinos and the elephants and the Eagles. And, and the shark whale. But the wolves i I'm, I'm a medical director at a wolf educational facility as well. I mean, of



course, you are. Right, I would like naturally.



But canines are just one of many animals in our in our ecological and Mother Nature cascade, but they hold a special place for me. So that's where I've concentrated myself, and I thought I could help. And I would imagine that they would be if they got hurt, who would take care of them, and human medics do get first day training. But it's not their day job. And I didn't want to Trude on the responsibilities. And humans often take precedent. So I thought, wouldn't it be nice to have a veterinarian on the teams? So my very first deployment was the World Trade Center. Oh, my gosh, and that was with the the v map personnel, many of whom are now with NVR. T.



Right. But that was that was the first or that you're talking about? 911? Not, not the like, the big that when the towers came down, not the first bombing at the World Trade Center. towers came down. Yeah. Wow.



And that was my first deployment with V mat. And so we were there to support the search dogs from whatever teams they were. Yeah. And during that, during my duties there at the Javits Center, and at the ground zero. I met Dr. Cindy Otto, who is with Pennsylvania Task Force One. And I was talking to her because I didn't know about these female use our task forces. I didn't know they existed. I thought, if I could do both, I would. And so she said, get with your local team and my local team as I live in Massachusetts, in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Task Force One, so I visited them briefly. They were demobilizing. When I got to their team, I spoke to the task force leader, Dr. Mark Foster, the task force leader, and I said, I introduce myself and I said, I'd like to meet your veterinarian, because I figured Dr. Otto was on Pennsylvania, Massachusetts must have on well, they don't. veterinarians are not a roster part of any female use our team, that means



they're going out the door with dogs with to go search search for people like a team of dogs, but they have no veterinarian going with them anywhere.



While not officially so they can use local resources. Well, naturally,



like I think they would seek care, but as their



and their medics are trained to do first aid state and and much of the medical attention is similar to humans week for a furry four legged animal. But I said I, I asked Mark Foster, would you like one you said put in an application. So when I did and when I got home, I did and I started going to the task force and after a year you earn your white helmets as we call it. there ever since so this is my 22nd 22nd year.



That is incredible. And for people listening who don't know, it can be difficult. It's not always but it can be difficult to propose a new asset to an existing structure. Right like and not not because the people in general don't want it not because the team members don't recognize the need. It's just that bureaucracy has higher accuracy.



So be



very interesting point politics, found my tasks that what happened was I was a guest at the medical team, working working meetings, which is now National, they allowed me to be a guest. And the problem was without being official, I wouldn't be covered for liability or workman's comp. And I didn't make sure I would be allowed to practice my profession outside my state of licensure. Right. And I actually was covered under the General Medical Directive came out, but veterinarians were not didn't have a position description, right? Oh, my task force leader. He's just so supportive as were others. Were in our on the team. So he started bringing me to these national meetings getting to know people introduce myself. And it took a took five, I think about five years of meetings. Yeah. And I will tell you, what goes on at the bar. And then the meetings make it official, right. I drank a lot.



All in all in a good animal care, right.



And, and eventually, you gain you have to gain respect from people you don't respect. You don't just show up and say I'm a veterinarian respect me. You have to earn it. And it is still a male dominated firefighter role. Although there are many as the years past 20 years, many more women in the field, but here I come. 20 years ago, this short, not firefighter woman, out of nowhere, out of nowhere, and so many of them would just kind of said Yeah, hello, goodbye. And others listened. And I was persistent, stubborn. You might call



it persistent without being pushy. It's a skill.



It's a fine line. That if you get people first they need to like you but to listen to you. And then what my biggest it was approved. Yeah, but I was that was it was approved. And so my first big deployment on that where I was truly in charge was the Oso. Washington landslide. Wow. And so I was very nervous, because I want to do a good job. And I had lots of help. This is definitely not a me thing this



I had. What were you in charge? What are you in charge of like,



I had 21 Search canines. These were this was the human remains detection or cadaver, part of the of the search. This was two weeks. In slide.



So you're looking to help people recover their loved ones correctly. They know didn't survive. But still, it's a little bit of closure. We didn't leave a lot



of closure. Yes. Yeah. Great service. And so these human remains detection, search teams were had just been approved a few months earlier. Wow. And so from nine, from nine teams across the country came 21 search dogs and their handlers. And between those two teams there that helped house us, but I was in charge of their operations. And I worked with the local Washington State reserve corps, because it was it was over. I don't know why



oh, here here in the chat room. We love the MRC, the Medical Reserve Corps because I'm I'm an MRC member from back before it was cool. So yeah, so we love the MRC. Yeah, well



documented. And Boswell she had just been elected as head of it, and I think like a month before the disaster or something. So she, she and I work together and with their local vets, as well as the search dogs, and we did morning, meetings and rounds. And then throughout the day, and then evening medical rounds, and then I had evening. We do briefings in the morning deep briefings at night then the paperwork done around midnight and then a 5am meeting so it will



do all of your groundbreaking work right and busting through all these barriers that absolutely existed both for veterinarians and for women. In general. How many of them how many other women kind of do what you do in the country? Are you do you know? Are you all of their bosses?



Dr. Cindy Otto, who who has since left Pennsylvania and she runs the work Pam networking doc center. Um She was my inspiration. She was the original and then I just I got the position description and stuff going on. And and there was another one of Virginia to another veterinarian and he has since left as well. But today there's three of us right now. Yes myself. Doctors are ran she is a Texas



observer and observe me no doctors, because we're both a&m grads, so we had doctors in school. Yep.



She joined just a few years ago. And yep. Dr. Jennifer, oh my gosh, I'm throwing around. Thank you. Dr. Jenn Brown, Florida too. She's a veterinarian on the team and she's a canine handler. So yeah, yeah. She has a NEMA Certified Life find and human remains detection canines. I have a, I have a certified HRD human remains canine. But she's certified about seven times now. But with the International Police working dog association for five times, and then with the Wow. nsda, the National Search Dog Alliance. So we are a local asset I can deploy with her in Massachusetts. She's not federally certified. So I do other things with her. She earns her keep in many other ways.



And I love how we're talking about your dog. So like listeners when she's saying she she she she's not talking about a human. She's talking about her dog. Yeah.



Yeah. And her name is dampner. Abigail



dampner, Abigail. Okay. That's very fancy name for? Do you call her?



She only gets a lane when she's not listening to.



Excellent, excellent. Like, Jason. That's when Jason gets his whole name when he's not paying attention.



Daddy diva doodle dog. I mean, oh,



she's got all kinds of names, right? Even though she's a very, very impressive dog because she she has a job, right? So these are working dogs that we're talking about? So, so there's a couple things there. So your when you deploy or when you use your dog as when you I guess when you deploy as a handler with your dog,



right? That's my goal. I deploy as a veterinarian, okay,



when you bid locally, you you work with your dog, as a handler, or No,



I can't I just have never been called out to do so I've done case files for privately, here, but I have not deployed with the team with her other than in training. So being that the other canines, I help train them they help train daddy, daddy also is my demo dog to teach human medics. How to take a temperature how to get things that are different from human.



Human guys are like you have to do what a temperature you



don't have to do that too often.



Not Not very much, I'm sure. Maybe not that way. They have other ways. But yeah,



and have you ever heard of Nero's law? When you Nero's law just passed the Massachusetts last year and it now hires all medical first responders to assess tree and transport and an ambulance. Any law enforcement canine who has been injured or ill in the line of duty. So we have 20,000 medical first responders to certify. And so I'm one of many veterinarians in the state teaching this. Now, some law enforcement canines, they're a little edgy, they're a little dicey, especially patrol dogs. So it's good that the medical that the medical personnel see them understand how to handler to help them and muzzle them. But to actually get their hands on my canine and feel that femoral pulse and actually put on a muzzle and at a pump knots on the lip. And listen to the heart these technical skills. I use Dami.



Yeah. Because Because davee Javis a good dog. So okay, so So you're teaching other? Well, not other, but you're teaching law enforcement folks how to take care of their partner in the field. Yeah, should they become injured? And I think that's great. We had a similar thing that was working its way here in Florida, I believe. And that's one thing. I think, folks, like one thing that I discovered which, maybe you already knew this and weren't surprised by it, but when I work with military working dogs, and I think it's the same depending on the jurisdiction with law enforcement dogs. That's another officer. The dog is an officer and at least in the military, the dog maintains one rank higher than its handler, so that if they don't, if they do something untoward towards the dog, then they are assaulting a superior officer. Oh, that's interesting, right, which carries a huge penalty. So so it doesn't matter how frustrated angry upset you get with that dog, you'd best hit something else, but besides the dog,



but they're not hitting their dogs very much.



Now, we definitely, over the past many years, the canine trading world, in many aspects has switched from the negative reinforcement to the positive reinforcement that's evolved. Oh, yeah. And you get a dog you get a dog that does their job for the love of it? And for the joy of it, not for fear of it, and they're much more reliable? Yeah,



it's true. And the same thing is true with people, right? Positive reinforcement works much more effectively than the negative. So I, I think a lot of folks, you know, we see working dogs and it's almost always like a German shepherd or a Belgian Malinois. And we're gonna look, folks, if you're listening to this, while you're driving, or while you're doing dishes or something, don't drop the dishes, and don't run off the road. But you can look on the YouTube version, and we're gonna put pictures up of the dog breeds we're talking about. So that you guys know, and Dr. Gordon has provided us with some really great pictures that were of dogs that are working. And so we're gonna put those up as well. So those will be in the video version of the show, if you're so inclined. But



the pictures also show kind of what I was getting at with the assaulting the dog. If they have such a different bond, then maybe do you think that even the two human partners have right, it's just a different? I don't know. I'm just speaking. You know what I see in what I hear, but I would have no idea but but I think some of those pictures show that, you know, a few of those pictures absolutely show that and it's, it's always phenomenal to me, so I doubt they're gonna do anything to mess up that bond. I love the higher ranking thing. That is really a cool thing. They probably don't need it, right? They have such respect,



just in case you have like a hiccup and ethical hiccup. Hey, there's something driving you right? I got it not, not act on that.



Well, Ana on the Urban Search and Rescue FEMA teams, the rate of treatment, the medics are to treat team members first and then the public. I mean, we're there to treat the public. Sure. If a team member gets a gets hurt, they're gonna treat them as a priority if it's more critical, and order if that goes human, team member, canine team member and then the public. On the Nero's law, humans do take precedence unless there's people in the canines more critical, and then they get they get priority on the ambulance, actually,



then it's a standard triage, right? It's like whoever's critical, who's going likely to succumb first. So we fix that issue. But so you've said this phrase a couple of times, and I love it. The you've mentioned live find dogs and right now, I don't know when people are listening to this. But right now, there's this great search happening in Turkey, and Syria because of the earthquake. And we see that there. You know, there's American teams over there firefighter teams, rescue teams, looking. And so can you tell us kind of what the difference is? Yes, between these live find dogs and the HRD, the human remain detection dogs.



I'm also I can mention there that the 28 FEMA teams and two of those were all national, not International, although there was an exception for the Haiti earthquake. Oh, Obama did have more teams go over by California to there's eight teams in California, California, two, and there's two teams in Virginia. So Virginia, one those two teams are two, the only two of the 28 that are international teams, and they flew over and they're already in the



search and they're there. That's that's what we're seeing on TV. They're taking a minute to say, you know, talk about what they're doing. But what about this live find piece.



So originally, we were we want to get to a disaster within we have a four to six hour window to get out the door. So most things are packed and ready to go people get there, we get the convoy, sometimes it's on a flight, sometimes it's six hours, that's like four to six hours. So you have to be within a reasonable distance of your task force and then we head out to get to a place that's why when there's a disaster, the three closest teams are first so first, if it's in a state with a FEMA team, they are taken off the federal roster because they become a state asset. So the closest and then they go to an order there's the order rotates, it alternates every every every month, I believe or every time so I'm not sure that changes anyways, originally to get there fast. We want to get there fast and live find is to find people before if they have a chance of coming out of rubble or a disaster if there's a time issue of getting there as soon as possible because if the clock is ticking and depending on your injuries are how long they will last. And the weather is an issue. Yeah. So lie find the trading is the door the dogs get rewarded for finding live people so all their trades meaning in their PDB put live people in the rubble or live people or in the ground. So that is the training and typically they are. They are very high drive. Yes. Go, go go.



So those are dogs that constantly want to work. They're saying, where's it? Where's it I want to find it the opposite



of cozy anyways.



That now this is a game for them. They, they are high drive, and they're incredibly driven for their toy. It could be a ball, it could be a bunny, it could be a food, there is full drive, but they prefer to drive canines.



And it could be any breed could be any breed of dog. Well, you



actually can can train many breeds of dog to find things. But when you're thinking of working in deep mud or Rubble, you need a certain size dog. So even though you might be able to teach a chihuahua to find a live person, absolutely you can. It would be hard for them to navigate a rubble pile. Right so



most of the doctor lawyers 20 years of politics coming out and that it was right there was a really good answer.



So but it's true, because it's true. There are scenting there are sent classes, you know if you want to do something with your dog for fun, yeah, there it's called nosework and there are are corgis and poodles and quiz and and they're wonderful. Yeah, they, they they want their toy in their treat too. But for this work it is in the use our world the majority are Labradors black, chocolate yellow. And, and also a lot of Matt Malin was belt and melon was in German Shepherds. But there's also Golden's German shorthaired pointers, mixed breeds, definitely some of the herding breeds.



Oh, yeah, I'm seeing Border Collie like a tall ish Border Collie would definitely have the drive to do it. And I know athleticism is exactly the athleticism. I know that one of our colleagues on and VRT Tracy, she has. Yeah, Tracy, so shout out to Tracy because I'll never forget this. We deployed together for Hurricane Sandy or Superstorm Sandy. Yes. And she. She has a live fine dog. Yeah. And I just I just remember thinking, how fun it must be to be found by him because he gets so excited. Like he just likes the person's face or whatever he can get to just go nuts because he did his job. And he's so excited.



Oh, excited. Yes. Because that was a misconception at the World Trade Center. The dogs. They've said, well, the dogs are sad. They people are deceased. And it's a little that you're anthropomorphizing a bit. It's and dogs absolutely get sad. But they were frustrated because they couldn't



make couldn't get the talk couldn't find. Yeah, fine. So



actually, I was one of many people who hid for the dog so they could find a person. And sometimes handlers when they go to a deployment, they may not be able to do searches for a while or yeah, there aren't, there isn't anything in their area to find. And so they will bring a little source or they'll have teammates hide so they can keep the canines engaged and happy. Yeah.



What's what's a typical dog response when they when like, not obviously, if they actually get to the person that I'm sure looking and all this other stuff. But what if the person is buried, right? But they know they're down there. They do the pointing thing, they just start barking like crazy, or what do they do?



Yeah. How did they tell you? So So search canines are finding people that we don't see. Right? So we see them? We don't need the canine. Right, right. So when the rubble pile on there in the field, or it's dirty, or your plumbing or building that's collapsed. So FEMA wants a bark alert, cause they may be out of sight. They also have FEMA dogs sometimes work out of sight. And so they are trained to bark at the place of the strongest scent, and not to leave until someone gets there. Awesome. Wide Area search and maybe you had a dog going a couple of miles out they would they do what's called a refined so they will find a person maybe a child lost or a senior lost in the woods. They find them they run back to the handler they either sit or jump up on them or bark or lay down



like Lassie saying, Come over here. He's in the well, and then



they bring you that's the refight, so they're refunding someone they've already found. If you have a bond dog, you don't want to bond dog barking because Oh, bomb so they are taught a quiet, alert their final resort clients that they says I found something they will sit or down. Yeah. New York Task Force. Their canines are from the police. They're half police, half firefighters, they're tasked with female customers. And so their canines have a day job you patrol or drugs, and then it'll be either live find or HR. And one of the ways their dogs distinguish what they're looking for is they'll they'll put a collar on for their femur work a certain color. And so some are taught to just set a paw down where they have the strongest scent. For the lie find it's always a bark, and then some do a sit or down in other jobs. So see the beagles. Yeah, airport that might find a strange fruit or or they sit right. They sit. Some of them will touch the backpack. And whilst to lie down. So it varies with the agency.



Yeah, but you can just see like a thought bubble on top of a bagel. Well, it'd be a small thought bubble for a bagel. But you could just see the bagel with a thought bubble over the head as they like put their Paul out to touch the bag like it's here. It's here. They're hiding it here. Now please don't



that I understood. I understand that right? Some of the dogs have two different jobs like during the day they're doing, you know, security separately, and then they can also do the HR stuff. So that's amazing for the dog. But how amazing is that for the humans training that dog that my point is the bond and understanding on how to do that that just communication is just amazing.



FEMA prefers single purpose canines,



though, do I? So do I?



Okay, most of the canine search teams are either live fight or eight or fewer remains. I handle can have two dogs, HR and one for life. Find out who you are, how they set up their team and how they're supported. That's how they do it. Each team is supported by either a town Massachusetts is supported by the town of Beverly the Bema Beverly Emergency Management Agency and Mima Massachusetts emergency



so many acronyms, so many acronyms, but it's okay.



Other places, other cities are supported by their local fire departments, I think in California and Virginia. And New York is half firefighter half that police, police and the police canines have two jobs bases crazy.



I know so Okay, so if I'm thinking that I mean, I'm not thinking this because because that is the farm fresh Frenchie, and like she is not going to be a searching dog. She thinks that dogs should look for her. Right.



That's how you can train dogs to do that, too.



Okay, see? Well, you could Dr. Gordon. I don't know that. I could. But um, but I have Border Collies, right. So let's say if I'm sitting around and I'm thinking, yeah, dog, like, you know, I think you could do this. What is it? Like what does a person to to kind of, because all these folks that are handlers, they have day jobs that may or may not be in law enforcement or response, but, but they have a dog maybe and they want to perform that service? What's like the first step? How do you how do you sort that out? What can you do if you are interested?



Yeah, that's so let's say you have a litter of six Labradors. Six puppies, because they're just born and you want to train them to do something or sell them as to do to be trained. Okay, so what you do is you, you, you, you observe their personalities. Some puppies are shy, some are bold, as some are, I wouldn't, it's not aggressive. It's a boldness. Yeah, hang back. Others take a little while and then they're okay. They're gonna warm up, learn their personalities. One thing some people do is they'll put the food bowl at one end of the room, and the puppies at the other end of the room, and they'll put obstacles in the way little puppy obstacles like a pillow. Or a little cardboard box, a stack of rolls of toilet paper. On Instagram, you'll see which puppies fall over anything to get to their food, you'll see which ace think about it and maybe go around, get to the end there'll be others who just hang back. Yeah, so let's hang back probably will not you you want to. If you want to build on a basic personality that's already there. It will make your job easier. My dog daddy, she's not HYDrive we started our online fight. She's a thinker, she takes her so we switched to human remains. Loves it so so that's your personality just as puppies and then as they get older, at you test them with with a drive for a toy or a ball. Now with puppies, their teeth are very small and delicate so they're soft. They're Not the hard rubber or the hard tugs that that are made out of fire hoses and stuff. And then as they get older and older, you you will continue to test that personality and the ones that are HYDrive and love that toy and will do anything for the toy and chase it. And then maybe a walk up a little rubble pile and see if they'll go up for the toy. Some of them will say, Whoa, what's that? No way. Some of them will go right up, and others will take a few minutes, and then they're fine. Think about it. Yes. So that's how you, you would promote them. So this is going to be a great lifeline dog. This is going to be great HR dog. This is going to be a great hunting dog. And this is going to be a pet. Yeah. And that's how you start,



which are all good. But yeah, so I think that's great, because not all humans are cut out to be responders. Like not not very not not first out the door. They might be there for support later. Be good at that. But yeah, so it's all different. And I know Dr. Jason right now is about to have to leave for his own response.



I'm undergoing something with the school so it's yeah. Okay, but



he's gonna bolt because he has a special thing. But I want to continue the conversation because a couple more questions that I know people have.



I want to ask you a question before I had to leave. So I'm gonna put your political savvy at the test here. Okay. Okay. Here we go. Do you have and you may eventually, I was just checking out the messages from the school. So you may have answered it. You know, last two seconds. If you had I apologize. Do you have a prep? Do you personally have a preference of which breed of dog you work for? Oh,



I do not profile?



Oh, come on. I know you're ready to say that. Give me a Brian. So I can tell you personally, I like mixed breeds. I like so you kind of have a preference. That's what



I do. For me, personally, I



got a very personal question.



I got daddy on Just be a pet and then our canine coordinator. Doc, she also a veterinarian. Dr. Janet Merrill. Canine handler has certified like young dogs. And she said Laurie, you really should train your dog. It'll make you a better use our veterinarian. So I said, Okay, this is what?



Yeah, and that's, that's my question a little bit is from the veterinary side. So let's say you train your dog, and they're working well, like what are the common issues that you see from a veterinary standpoint that you have to address with dogs that are working like as they're working? Right, so like you deployed to the mudslide, etc. So what are the concerns that you're looking out for? What do you see most often?



Oh, that's a great question. So I was started to Haim for the Oklahoma, Oklahoma City bombing and Dr. Otto and several of her colleagues for the World Trade Center. And I published a paper on injury and illness data for Haiti and the California campfire. And this is how we they gather the data, that data to find out what do they incur what injuries and illnesses do they incur?



What are their job risks?



Yes, so they work. Usually they work what we call naked. So no, often no harness no collars, often no booties because that's how they manage the rubble safely. However, if they're working a building and there's a toxin, you can they can definitely work with a vest or booties, rec specs or goggles, airpro and all kinds of stuff. They can work with it, but they usually naked so they their paws are most vulnerable, their lower limbs, their underbelly, so the most common injuries are pa pad operations, lacerations, puncture wounds, that would be most



common. Yeah. And that makes sense because they're on piles of debris. Yeah. Looking. And so so the dogs don't necessarily dig. Once they find they just say, Oh, it's right here. Yes, my doing my people bring my people y'all dig it up for me. Sometimes they'll



have a second dog to check, although trust your dog, but they're going they're about to commit an incredible number of personnel time and equipment. Go into digging a rubble pile. So true. Yes, one insurance, sometimes not. Sometimes they'll find someone and they say hello, this is search and rescue anybody there and you get an answer.



Oh, how exciting is that? So



especially for the person answering Yeah, depends on nation. Yes.



Yeah. Well, that's what I'm saying. Like that's what I've just I'm telling you, it's just this. Imagine being found by a dog. Imagine you're laying like in a horrific situation. You're you're in pain maybe or you don't know because you can't move. Here's No You're just waiting for people to find you. And all of a sudden they His dog nose comes out. Yeah. And yeah, and then they're so excited. And you're like, Oh, God, I love dogs forever. You know, like, it would just be, I just can't imagine the feeling that dog has and that person has, it's just would be incredible.



It is a emotional, a very emotional boost for the entire team. Yeah, I will say that. Sometimes we don't find anybody in common. And in the team members, they they get tired. And it's frustrating. And it's sad, especially if you don't if someone or someone deceased. The dogs have almost almost perform another job, which is morale boosting. I don't know how many times I saw a dog walk by a worker at the World Trade Center. And they just their shoulders were just relaxed they put down just to pet them. They are an incredible emotional support animal, even if they're not certified.



Right. Their side hustle.



That's hilarious. Yeah,



very true. Very true. Dr. Jason, did you have



another question? No, no, no, no, no. Okay.



Dr. Gordon, thank you so much for joining us to talk about this. I know, we've only scratched a little bit of the surface of the role that these dogs and their people, including yourself play in our society, in the worst times that we might face. But, um, but I'm so thankful that you you do what you do, and that you came to talk with us about it? Yeah.



I think I think a lot of people see this, it's so so common now. Right? Whereas it wasn't necessarily common just few years ago, but it's so common to see the humans out there with with their, with their dogs, it's great. And now you sort of shed some light for most folks about how intricate this whole situation is. It's not just Hey, call somebody and, and they'll do it, you know, it's a training thing. And it's also the organizational thing. It's really awesome. You guys have regular real jobs also, like it's, it's great, right?



These dogs are amazing. They are trained in mud in water search, avalanche. The obviously the lifeline versus HR, their whole wide area search, they have to do just such an amazing variety, which is why training takes so long they can they usually about takes two to three years to get them trained, and they're always learning. So it's a labor of love. It takes a lot from the handler as well. Oh,



you gotta say I'm doing this with Yeah, we're in it together. And we're in it together. So I think that's just fantastic. So yeah, I mean, unless Is there anything else that you wish that that dog lovers, pet animal lovers knew about urban search and rescue, working canines, anything else you want to add?



I just I just think that an amazing asset. And if my if my kid or my mom or was lost, I want a dog. Because they are good. And they are fast.



And they don't care who you are.



Yeah, they don't profile either.



They're gonna go try to find Yeah, that's right. That's right. Well, again, thank you so very much for what you do and for joining us today, taking some time out of your schedule.



Right. Yeah.



Yeah. All right. Well, um, I guess that's all we have today. I'm Dr. Jenn the vet, Dr. Jason, and we'll catch you all on the next episode. Thank you. Professional Animal Care certification council or PAP brings independent testing and certification to the pet care services industry is your dog's daycare or boarding kennel or a groomer manned by pack certified professionals? Don't know if you don't know you got to ask. Look for the pack emblem at your facility to make sure that your pets receiving the highest level of professional pet care because we all know it's safer in a pack your pack CE code for this episode is cc 220077.



This episode is brought to you by full bucket veterinary strengths supplements the leader in digestive health for dogs, cats and horses.