Catastrophes unite us in our courage, our challenges and our grief. But they also provide a blueprint for our future. Particularly when that blueprint allows for the saving of human life and when natural disaster strikes the bond between animal and man has never been stronger.
Above is a picture of Jay Jay (previously known as Johnny) prior to being rehomed. He was brought by his owner Zoe in April of this year from the Yagoona Shelter and is currently enrolled in the K9 Urban Search and Rescue team for the SES & NSW Fire Brigade.
RSPCA NSW Inspector Slade Macklin is working with SES & NSW Fire Brigades Steve Austin in rehabilitating and training Jay Jay for eventual deployment into disaster zones. The canines help search teams to locate victims, using their incredible sense of smell to detect live human scent, even from a victim buried deep in the rubble.
Urban Search and Rescue dogs are all trained to locate people that may have become buried due to natural or man made disasters. All of the dogs are trained to give a bark indication when they have located live human scent. Canine searchers play a critical role during structural collapse incidents. Canines with high "toy drive" are used for urban search and rescue. It is a game of hide and seek" for the dog. In training, people run from the dog and hide with the toy, playing with the dog when found. By the time the dog is on a real search, he is looking willingly for trapped people.
"He is doing really well - his drive and focus is fantastic. By September next year Jay Jay and other dogs on the team will be qualified and deployable to natural disasters zones such as Christchurch and Japan to search for victims." said Inspector Macklin. "I wanted to forward this on as we dont often see where the dogs that we have rehomed have progressed to and that they dont need to be pure bred to be life savers."
We here at RSPCA NSW wish Jay Jay the safest of travels and all the best in his new home and vocation.