Task Force: California Task Force 2 (CA-TF2)
Agency: Los Angeles County Fire Department
Level: In Training to Certify
Search Dog Info
Breed: Yellow Labrador
Born: January 22, 2016
Recruited from: Lab Rescue OK, Inc. in Broken Arrow, OK
Recruited by: Jason Smith
Prep Home: Mike Perry
Sponsor: The Joel and Dena Gambord Family
Koda was recruited by retired Handler Jason Smith, an Oklahoma City firefighter and member of Oklahoma Task Force 1. A friend of Jason’s had adopted Koda from Oklahoma Lab Rescue several months earlier but when they found out their family was growing in size, Koda’s off the wall energy was too much for them. Jason evaluated Koda and offered to help him find a great career in search and rescue, to which the couple agreed.
Koda was flown out to California and was tentatively accepted into our training program. He was very young and immature, and SDF trainers weren’t positive that his over the top energy wasn’t puppy energy that Koda would grow out of. A Kern County firefighter named Mike Perry had been volunteering with the trainers and agreed to foster Koda in his home with his family for a few months.
Quickly becoming a part of the Perry family’s household, Koda loved playing with Mike’s kids but also benefitted from the one-on-one attention and structure they were all able to provide. When he was old enough, Koda returned to SDF and upon further evaluation, was officially accepted in our training program.
The trainers found ways to motivate Koda and continue to boost the young dog’s confidence. It didn’t take long for them to see the physical changes in Koda as they watched him proudly trot off the rubble pile, well-deserved toy in his mouth signifying a job well done.
SDF Canine Care Specialist Monica Patrick says, “Koda is very eager to please and always happy. He’s a love bug and a cuddler. I love that dog.”
As graduation approached, Mike came to help train the candidates one last time. He spent the night in our Bechtel Handler’s Lodge and Koda had a sleepover with him; one final guy’s night. The next morning Mike had left this hand-written note: “To Koda’s future Handler, Koda continues to show tremendous growth… he has stolen a huge piece of who I am. I am beyond excited for the person who gets to be his Handler. Best of luck to you and my boy Koda!”