Task Force: California Task Force 2 (CA-TF2)
Agency: Los Angeles County Fire
Level: DHS/FEMA Certified
Most Recent Certification: June 5, 2016
Search Dog Info
Breed: Yellow Lab
Born: January 15, 2013
Donated by: Elise Lalor
Named by: Hank Butler-Funk
Cajun, originally named Rex, was donated to SDF’s urban disaster search and rescue training program by Elise Lalor, a dog enthusiast and canine handler on California Task Force 4, based in Oakland, CA. In her line of work, Elise regularly comes into contact with people looking for help to find their family just the right dog, or a dog just the right place in life.
Elise explained how she came to meet this fun guy, “We got Rex when he was about 6 months old. Rex is from a field lines breeder, and the family who got him are an active family with 4 children. Rex proved to be too much dog for their household, and was a bit too rough with the kids. They connected with us, and we agreed to take him and try to find him a working home.” Elise knew just who to call a few months later when Rex came of age to begin a formal training program.
SDF’s Master Trainer Sonja Heritage evaluated Rex and agreed that he showed a tremendous amount of promise. He was re-named “Cajun” in honor of long-time SDF supporter Hank-Butler Funk, who is the Guardian of Search Dog Huck, and began his journey as a canine candidate in training.
From the beginning, SDF trainer Emily Fisk began reporting “He is a goofy and fun dog. He is very drivey and…is understanding that he gets a toy fastest if he finds the victim.” Several months later, Cajun was partnered with firefighter Josh Flores of the Los Angeles County Fire Department when they graduated together on January 22, 2016.
The team achieved Certification with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in June of 2016, and as members of California Task Force 2, based in Los Angeles, the team is eligible to deploy when disasters occur – foreign or domestic.
On January 22, 2017, Josh and Cajun were placed on standby to deploy with their task force due to heavy storms that pounded the Los Angeles area. The heavy rainfall threatened flooding and mudslides, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department was prepared should they be called upon.
We look forward to watching Josh and Cajun’s careers blossom and sharing their experiences with friends!