IONIA, Mich.,–Search and rescue K-9 teams from West Michigan spent Wednesday afternoon training for real life scenarios at the Ionia County Fairgrounds.
They’re a part of a non-profit called ‘Michigan Search and Rescue’, a team of volunteers that train to assist local law enforcement in missing person cases.
Bristol, a doberman, was one of six dogs who spent hours training Wednesday. She is one dog out of 250 that are Level 1 FEMA certified, which means she’ll be called to duty for disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.
The dogs are trained for all different scenarios and with a single phone call from law enforcement they’re there to assist.
Wednesday, Zenia the bloodhound trained on what is called ‘trailing’. A scent was left behind and she had to track it back to the person. She is only 9 months old and it takes up to two years before she becomes certified to go on actual searches, but her handler Jackie Harris says the time put in is well worth it.
“Just the reward of knowing that you helped someone on their worst day. I haven’t done it yet I just know that it will be very rewarding, that’s what its all about,” she said.
The organization says they are always looking for more people to volunteer and they meet once a week.
To find out more about the group you can visit: http://www.michigansar.org/