From Wilma Melville, SDF Founder:
The third most intense hurricane on record, Hurricane Rita is now on a rampage across the Gulf of Mexico.
No sooner had SDF’s canine-firefighter search teams returned home from their deployment to Hurricane Katrina (their gear still in route), than they were once again called out by their local FEMA Task Forces as first responders to assist with Hurricane Rita rescue efforts. With barely enough time to kiss their families, wash their clothes, and catch up on a few hours of sleep, 17 California SDF teams are now en route to staging areas in Texas to search for survivors in the aftermath of the hurricane (see Deployment Roster, below).
Our deepest thanks go to all of you whose financial support has made it possible for our teams to once again respond to a national disaster—this time to assist in the Hurricane Rita rescue efforts. Together with their devoted handlers, the dogs will be searching their hearts out to make sure no one is left behind in the wreckage.
Dear Debra, Wilma, and everyone at SDF,
I read the accounts of the deployment to Hurricane Katrina with tears of gratitude and relief that the teams are okay, and returning to their families. What a true example of heart and courage! I am very touched by hearing about it. Learning that they were immediately re-deployed to Hurricane Rita was no surprise, and we’ll be sending out our prayers for their safe return.
Knowing many of the people and dogs from SDF makes it that much more personal, and I am so proud of each and every one of these amazing heroes. Who would have thought that just recently, when their IronDog Trials were preparing the teams for a real disaster that the largest one in the country's history would be just around the corner! It certainly validates the importance of all the incredible work that goes into planning and executing such complicated advanced training.
I hope everyone at SDF really knows that this supreme dedication means the world to those who depend upon it, and to all of us who may personally need it one day, ourselves. A simple thank you doesn't seem to suffice, but it comes with the deepest, largest heartfelt emotion possible!
Welcome home one and all! Great job! Pull Toys and Hugs for everyone!!
Devon Geiger Nielsen and all the Geiger family