“It’s great that Alex is passionate and gets personal enjoyment out of it, but let’s be real, your uncle or your child who’s disabled walks away, and his dog finds them or (another dog) finds them, that’s a pretty big deal,” Pesola told the Flathead Beacon. “He shouldn’t have to pay $10,000 a year to go find your kid. We want to, and we’re going to.”
Moore and his dog, Hera, spent around 1,000 hours training to first become certified and still complete another 16 hours of training every month to maintain that certification. The pair has worked together for seven years, beginning when Moore was still a student, and now they’re part of a team of volunteers who donate their time to search and rescue missions throughout all manner of residential or rugged terrain in Northwest Montana. Moore said both the reward of a successful mission and the relationship built with his dog keep him involved in search and rescue even as his professional obligations have grown.
“Certainly being able to be successful with your partner and achieving a goal, whether that be finding a person, a missing child, or a deceased person, brings a lot of satisfaction,” Moore said. “But it’s really just the bond and the feeling of working side by side with a creature that I think completely understands what it’s doing.”
Pesola is grateful for the time he’s been able to work with Moore and other more experienced dog handlers through their trainings, like the one in December. He said the two deputies know each other’s tendencies so well that they’re hard to fool when they test each other (and their dogs), but the rest of the crew can still trick him and, in turn, help him and Misty grow. Law enforcement and volunteer teams typically don’t overlap in the field, but the potential to grow the pool of available K-9 teams — both volunteer and at FCSO — is part of what Pesola hopes the foundation can do down the road.