For many people, getting trapped underneath snow is not something worried about in day-to-day life or even when out on an adventure.
But for some, this scenario is a genuine possibility depending on where they live and what kind of lifestyle they live. Whether you are one of those people or not, wouldn’t you like to know that rescue is possible?
Luckily, organizations like Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England specialize in training dogs to find people in such situations.
Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England has been operating for over fifty years, training these special dogs as “non-discriminatory air scenting” search dogs.
In movies and on television, you might have seen search dogs used to find someone by giving them an article of clothing to smell and then follow the scent of. Although this is one way to train search dogs, it is not the most effective for avalanche and other wilderness situations.
Non-discriminatory air scenting doesn’t use a specific person’s scent, but rather the dogs smell the air for human scent.
In this video, you can see one of MRSDE’s trained dogs find a person trapped under the snow. Although this is a filmed training exercise, it still shows what the perspective of a trapped person might look like.
The dog in the video is a four-year-old border collie named Flo. According to MRSDE’s website, Flo’s favorite thing is a Wubba Kong, and his ears are infamous! We have to say, Flo is one handsome boy.
First, you can see Flo sniffing the surface of the snow and locking onto human scent. Then, he pops his nose through the snow. And although this would be a serious situation, this training video allows us to comment on how cute Flo’s little nose is coming through the snow!
In the background, you can hear Flo barking to alert his handler that he found a human scent as it paws at the snow to breakthrough.
Again, because this is a taped training exercise, there isn’t too much snow for Flo to dig through, but you can imagine what an actual rescue might entail.
The person filming this video is known as a Dogsbody. According to MRSDE’s website, Dogsbodies are the most valued people because they go out and hide on the Training and Assessment Courses.
Without Dogsbodies, who are willing to bury themselves in deep snow, we wouldn’t have this fantastic video or these incredible search dogs that are able to save lives.
On the website’s training tab, you can learn about how the dogs are trained. Although the dogs are the stars of the show, the handlers are also essential and undergo just as rigorous of training as their K-9 companions.
When a dog has completed each stage of training, they are known as a graded dog. In other words, they are a Full Search Dog. For example, Flo’s date of grading was in January 2017, and since then, he’s been ready to help people in need!
Check out Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England to learn more about the organization and how you can support them, and the fantastic work they do. You can also see the rest of Flo’s cute coworkers!
Be sure to watch the video below to see how Flo finds a human scent and digs out a trapped person.
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