Exactly one year after being partnered with their canines, and only five days after receiving their official State Certifications, SDF’s New York teams were called out on their first deployment. This was followed by a second callout three weeks later—an extraordinary beginning for these excellent new teams. Here are their reports:
On Thursday, June 28, SDF’s four New York search teams were sent to search for survivors in the aftermath of tremendous flooding that inundated the Eastern Seaboard. The teams were deployed to Conklin (outside Binghamton) as part of New York Task Force 2. Traveling on swift water boats, the teams searched 75 flooded homes and “cleared” the area after determining that all residents were accounted for.
During the deployment a dog and two cats were saved. When the rescue teams reached shore, the dog’s owner came running up to the handlers in tears: “I thought my dog was lost to the flood because it was old and couldn’t see very well.”
SDF lead trainer Pluis Davern happened to be in New York working with the teams when flooding began, and was able to accompany them on the deployment and see her “protégés” in action. Says Pluis:
This was a tremendous opportunity for me to observe the dogs we trained in an actual deployment. Both dogs and handlers, faced with a very challenging first deployment, performed beautifully. They truly exemplified what we all strive for. To see the trust that the handlers had in their dogs and the reciprocal response in their K9s was everything I could hope for as a trainer and teacher. It left me awed.