Task Force: Oklahoma Task Force 1 (Tulsa)
Agency: Tulsa Fire
Level: SUSAR Type I Certified
Most Recent Certification: April 24, 2016
Search Dog Info
Breed: Yellow Lab
Born: February 9, 2011
Donated by: Jeff Ivy
Sponsors: Judith Sykora, Fern Marks
In February of 2012, Sacramento City firefighter and SDF handler Jeff Ivy contacted our office to notify us that he had a dog he felt would be great for urban disaster search and rescue work. Having been paired with his own Search Dog, Jakers, in 2006, Jeff knows exactly what characteristics SDF looks for in canine candidates.
Jeff had originally adopted Gunny from a kennel as a duck-hunting dog but when he observed Gunny’s intelligence, fearlessness, and physical dexterity, he felt Gunny could serve a higher purpose. Jeff called on a fellow handler to run Gunny through a battery of tests to see if he had a future in this line of work. Jim Boggeri, an SDF Board member and fellow handler of Search Dog Nino, evaluated Gunny and agreed that he had the makings of the next canine hero!
Once accepted into the training program, Jeff drove Gunny to Sundowners Kennels in Gilroy, CA to start Search Dog training. Luckily for SDF trainers, Jeff, being an SDF handler, had already taught Gunny the majority of our commands in basic obedience and search. This made the trainer’s job much easier, and within a few short weeks trainer Sharon Hanzelka commented, “Gunny has wonderful obedience skills and has already mastered obstacle and agility work. He gets to swim after every workout and is starting to look like a lean Search Dog. Everyone loves him.”
On October 22, 2012, Gunny graduated from his training at Sundowners and was partnered with Tulsa Firefighter/Paramedic Adrienne Seibel of Oklahoma Task Force 1. The team spent a week getting to know one another in Gilroy and then Adrienne flew Gunny home to Tulsa to meet his new family and Task Force teammates. As it is important for any team to form a tight bond and unwavering trust for deployments, Gunny lives at home with Adrienne and goes with her to the fire station. This also ensures that the team is ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.
After being paired, the real work began and Adrienne and Gunny trained daily in order to achieve their basic State Urban Search and Rescue Alliance (SUSAR) Type II Certification in March of 2013, which would allow them to deploy to disasters in their region.
The team was called to duty within weeks of certifying, when a massive deadly tornado struck the city of Moore, OK in May of 2013, leaving much of the area devastated. Several SDF canine teams from Oklahoma Task Force 1 and neighboring Nebraska Task Force 1 were sent in to help locate unaccounted for citizens. Their deployment came to an end several days later when Oklahoma’s governor announced that thanks to rescue workers help, no one had been left behind.
With their first deployment under their belt, Adrienne and Gunny went on to achieve their advanced SUSAR Type I Certification in June of 2013, and Re-Certified three years later, as required, in April of 2016. The team stands by to assist when the next call comes and we wish the team much success in their career!