Rescue Dogs of the Oso, WA Landslide – Part 2

In the past few days Seattle’s KUOW 94.9 and KCTS 9 have featured interviews with those most affected by the Oso, WA landslide, which just six months ago (March 29, 2014) devastated an entire community 60 miles northeast of Seattle. I remember hearing descriptions on the news of rescue workers searching for victims in the huge debris field–conditions were extremely dangerous and the going was rough.

FEMA search dog onsite to help find victims of the Oso, WA Landslide.

FEMA search dog onsite to help find victims of the Oso, WA Landslide.

Highly trained search dogs from across WA and the country were flown in to help guide the search for victims.

Governor Jay Inslee acknowledges a tired search dog with a scratch behind the ears.

WA Governor Jay Inslee acknowledges a tired search dog with a scratch behind the ears.

Soon news reports about the dogs and their skill began to pour out of the area. Not only were the search dogs helping in the disaster zone, but “trauma dogs” were onsite in shelters to provide support to worried, grieving survivors as well as exhausted workers.

 

 

 

Fire fighters were critical to the search and recovery mission.

Fire fighters were critically important to the search and recovery mission.

I collected photos of the dogs featured in news stories and saved them on my desktop. I found comfort in knowing they were in Oso helping on so many levels. I post them now with respect for their meaningful contributions and to acknowledge their key role in the recovery mission.

Spending a moment with an understanding friend.

Spending a moment with an understanding friend.

Helping to keep spirits up at the command center.

Helping to keep spirits up at the command center.

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Rescue Dogs of the Oso Landslide – Part 1

Just six months ago, bucolic Steelhead Drive in Oso, WA was destroyed in a matter of seconds by a landslide of mud, trees, rock, and water. A cliffy area above the town liquified and roared like a freight train toward the river below taking everything in its path, including forty three souls. In the past few days KUOW 94.9 and KCTS 9 have featured interviews with those most affected by the disaster, including “a woman rescued from the mud, a couple who lost their home, a first responder struggling with post-traumatic stress, and leaders, municipal and spiritual, still working tirelessly for their community.”

I remember hearing the first reports on the radio about the slide, which occurred 60 miles northeast of Seattle. People at the scene plunged into the jumble of rock, downed power lines, pulverized houses and broken trees hoping to reach victims calling out for help. The muck was dangerous and the going slow. Some of the voices faded and disappeared.

Returning from the search, a four-legged rescue worker.

Returning from the search, a four-legged rescue worker at the Oso landslide.

Then reports emerged of sniffer dogs arriving on the scene. Four-legged trained searchers were soon guiding the rescue teams to the living and the dead. And, comfort dogs were brought in to nurture the worried survivors staying in shelters and also the workers, who searched and searched despite exhaustion and terrible danger.

A rescuer doing the work. Sincere. Determined. Undaunted.

A rescuer doing the work. Sincere. Determined. Undaunted.

I found myself collecting screenshots of the dogs that appeared in the news accounts that I read over the days and weeks. The dogs seemed to be a bright light of hope shining through the fog of loss. It comforted me to know they were on the ground in Oso.

Rescue team at the Oso landslide. Trained sniffer dogs helped speed-up the search.

Rescue team at the Oso landslide. Trained sniffer dogs helped speed-up the search.

Helping out at the shelter: comfort and care delivered to worried souls.

Helping out at the shelter: comfort and care delivered to worried souls.

On the job -- tracking scents undetectable to humans. Dogs were key to Oso Landslide rescue efforts.

On the job — tracking scents undetectable to humans. Dogs were key to Oso Landslide rescue efforts.

I did not save information about the dogs’ names or owners, the photographers who took the pictures, or the news channels that published the photos. Because this is my blog that few read and from which I earn nothing, I am taking the liberty of posting some of these photos now.

I do this in memory of those who lost their lives and those still in the process of recovering.

And, I do this in honor of the dogs who did so much to help.

Our canine friends make the world a better place simply by their being in it.

"I am here to help. How you are doing? You can tell me everything and you don't have to use words."

“I am here to help. How you are doing? You can tell me everything and you don’t have to use words.”