Thu, 30 August 2012
The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use. Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two. From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs. When the tragedy of September 11, 2001 is commemorated each year, we pay tribute to both victims and heroes. Among these are the gallant search-and-rescue teams of handlers and dogs that worked so tirelessly at Ground Zero. As a result of their efforts, the public has become much more aware of this vital service, performed by scores of professional and volunteer teams all over the country. This edition of PICK OF THE LITTER focuses on search-and-rescue (SAR), beginning with an interview with the human half of the first team to receive the AKC’s new title in the field of urban search-and-rescue, Beckie Stanevich. She and her English Springer Spaniel Juno (pictured here) assist FEMA teams at disaster sites. Juno’s outstanding work made Springers the obvious choice for our breed profile for this program, and we hear more about these beautiful and versatile dogs from breeder Terry Patton. Dr. Cindy Otto was one of the handlers working at the World Trade Center site after 9/11, and the experience made her realize that the SAR dog is a breed apart, no matter what breed it is. She went on to found The Penn Vet Working Dog Center, at the University of Pennsylvania, and she tells host Lisa Peterson about her research and the Center’s new training facility. Finally, you’ll get to hear a search-and-rescue dog in action. The Pick of the Litter team spent an afternoon with members of Ramapo Search and Rescue Association, in Mahwah, New Jersey, where we participated in a training exercise and staffer Stephanie Smith got to play “victim” in a simulated rescue. Ramapo Vice President James Pearson describes his partner, German Shepherd Dog Gamma, as “a noble beast,” and that is how we feel about all the remarkable dogs—and their handlers—who make up these special teams.