Dogs that are abandoned or abused often don’t even have the chance to live a full, happy life. They are tossed aside, forgotten about, and deemed unfit for life as household pets with loving forever families. The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is an organization that gives some of those dogs a second chance at life. The non-profit foundation rescues and trains shelter dogs to be used by firefighters and search teams in times of national disasters or to find missing persons.
After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the founder of National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, Wilma Melville, was surprised to learn that there were only 15 FEMA canine disaster search teams in the United States, and that motivated her to look in shelters for dogs that might be able to help in times of need. Today, the foundation has 69 active teams all over the United States and 17 dogs in training for search work.
The dogs that the foundation chooses have high energy and probably would be ill-suited for life as pets, but their qualities make them perfect for the job. They are trained at a 125-acre facility and paired with firefighters and first responders. The dogs are given lifetime care at no cost to firefighters, and the organization receives no government funding. If dogs don’t complete training or need to be returned for any reason, they are all placed in loving forever homes.
The foundation gives new lives to dogs that had little chance of being adopted, and through training and hard work, they instill these dogs with a sense of accomplishment and purpose. They go on to help people in the most dire situations and assist search and rescue teams in saving lives. If you’d like to learn more about National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, make a donation, sponsor a search dog in training, or volunteer, visit the foundation’s website and show your support for this amazing program.
Are you happy to see dogs getting a second chance? Do you think more programs like this should exist? Let us know in the comments below!