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Search - Rescue - Comfort

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Some dogs work as human remains or cadaver dogs; they search for bodies.  Search and Rescue dog Oreo is a Pomsky - part Pomeranian and part Siberian Husky, specially trained to find living victims in disasters.  


Once again, the nation and the world watch as search and rescue efforts are underway, this time in Miami when a twelve-story beachfront condo collapsed in the middle of the night. In the aftermath more than 150 people were reported missing. Relatives of those who were unable to escape cling to hope that their loved ones will be found alive.

Almost immediately after the collapse, search and rescue teams rushed in to help. They came so many places. A team from Israel arrived, requested by survivors because of the number of Jewish residents living in the high-rise.

Moises Soffer from Mexico and his little black-and-white dog, “Oreo”, represent Cadena International, a non-profit group dedicated to assisting in disasters. Oreo is trained to search out survivors. Their advantage in this situation is the dog’s small size, which allows him to get into openings where big dogs could not go.

The search for survivors is hampered by the instability of the pile of rubble. Experts are using every technology they can to identify pockets where people may be trapped, while workers continue to dig carefully through the rubble, a frustrating and gruesome job. Many search and rescue teams are working with dogs to locate survivors.

Lutheran Church Charities have dispatched Comfort Dog teams to Miami. Their mission will be to offer support and encouragement to all the workers.

Other groups are thinking about those who are desperate to hear news of their loved ones. Several groups have brought in therapy dogs to help calm anxious families.

It’s reassuring to know that our best friends, with their unique talents and abilities, are always there to help in difficult times, assisting, encouraging and comforting us, when we’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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