Grand Mesa was the location of a search dog training day last Saturday.
Western Slope Search Dogs hosted the event with Search and Rescue K9 teams from across the Western Slope, in a joint training session held off Land’s End Road.
Dogs and their handlers worked through a variety of scenarios.
Some of those included working a scene with a “crashed” ATV with a lost and disoriented driver; multiple people lost at the same time; familiarization with ATVs, UTVs and other transport methods; working with drone distractions, and many other search situations.
Training was provided in the search disciplines of Air Scent, Tracking/Trailing, and human remains detection.
Eleven handlers worked with 17 K9s, including members of Garfield County SAR and Search and Rescue Dogs of the U.S., with participants coming from Vail, Paonia, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Whitewater and Grand Junction.
Western Slope Search Dogs is a nonprofit corporation that provides trained search dogs to Mesa County Search and Rescue Control.
The all-volunteer K-9 Team within SARC assists with search and rescue, evidence searches, and other tasks as requested. Western Slope Search Dogs also provides search dog resources to other Western Slope Counties and other organizations that request them.
The dedicated volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and must be ready to respond to a call for assistance at a moment’s notice.