From April 29 until May 1, the ‘goodest’ pups from across B.C. will be in Kelowna for training and certifications with the RCMP Police 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 be working hard with all the other experienced dogs for their annual re-validation.
Edward Henczel from COSAR said that in 2021 Chase participated in 20 tasks and had multiple successes during that time.
“He has definitely contributed to saving lives,” said handler Terry Downs.
Chase has travelled with the team for searches on snowmobiles, helicopters and off-road vehicles, said Downs.
Dogs with training like Chase are more efficient than humans in searches, said Downs. The dogs are able to follow their nose and cover large areas of challenging terrain to quickly to locate missing people, said Downs.
All SAR K9s are under the guidance and oversight of the RCMP Police Dog Services and teams are mentored in their training throughout the year.
“We are incredibly fortunate in Kelowna and the Okanagan to have the support of the local RCMP Police Dog handlers who are very supportive of having the SAR K9s as an additional resource in the field,” said Downs.
Henczel said that K9 handlers spend upwards of $10,000 annually on training, travel and equipment. The dogs and their handlers often travel throughout the province for training and to provide assistance to other SAR teams who are without K9s. Much of this cost is shouldered by the handler and their local SAR group.
Donations can be made on SAR websites.
“We are grateful to all members of the public who have made generous donations for Chase’s expenses,” said Downs.