Eve and I had our very first SAR case last night!! What a rush. I felt sick to my stomach after I found out that we would be working but once I got there all the training kicked in and it was go time!
We were called up after the subject had been missing for 3days and the last 3days weather has been snow, blowing winds, and very cold. All the sidewalks and streets had been plowed or snow blown around so much that I was not optimistic about running a successful track. But we needed to help out as much as we could and hopefully provide any info/data that we could to the case. No other K9 teams had been called up yet....not sure why...but we were there to do our thing.
One of our team members pulled her dog out of the car and started him off the scent article. He did a circle around the entrance that she was last seen at and did a jump indication...he did a No Scent Indication (Kevin Kocher training method for anyone not familiar with this term)! We understood that he was telling us "there isn't that scent present here" but we tried to work him out from the building some more....notta nothing but negative indications.
So Eve was up....I put on her boots as it was like -6 to -8 w/out windchill and I wanted her to work w/out worrying about her feet freezing. Talked her all up and got her all ready to rock...I really try to pump her up w/ encouraging and positive words before we go out there. Walked her around the point last seen (PLS) to get the wiggles out and to potty then brought her to where the harness and scent article were laying. Started doing are harness routine and as usual was whispering pump up words in her ear. Pointed out the scent article and when she sniffed it told her "find em". She went up to the door but showed not real interest in the area so I let her work a little longer and then cast her out into the parking lot where she gave me a lot of negatives (head up, shake off's, and no committed trail). Worked her up towards the side of the building and tried seeing if I could pick something up....notta. Then went around around the building to the other exit and tried to pick something up on that exit or sidewalk. Nothing, nothing, nothing!! So it was back to the car for a warm up and on to drive to a place about 2 blocks down where someone thought that they saw the missing person 3 days earlier.
Did the same preharness routine (you want it to be like a free throw in basketball...the same motions, same everything, everytime) and gave her "find em". This time we worked a 3way or "T" corner. She went up to one sidewalk...head up....and a shake off. Then I cast here to the road and towards another sidewalk...another shake off. Then down the sidewalk (working the corner in a clockwise fashion) for a couple more shake offs and no commitments. Then back towards the article on the last sidewalk/street area for only more shake offs. I swear that is the most shake off's I've ever seen out of one dog on a corner!
While I am sad that we did not find a trail to hook up to and follow to a find I am proud to say that Eve did the best job that she could with what she had. There was no hesitation by either of us if she was on anything. It was VERY clear that she had nothing and was throwing negatives all over the place (shake offs, head up, etc). I am happy that she did not take me on a wild goose chase or search for sent...it is nice to be able to understand that Eve had nothing and was not going to give me anything she did not have.
Although I am proud of her I am sad and distressed that there might possibly be a person out there that needs to be found. I have thought about it almost all my free time for this last day. We are going back to work some others dogs in different areas (track/trail dogs are of no use now in the case) so Eve will not be worked. I am hopeful and confident that if we get into the right area a K9 member of my team WILL find her...but until then I can't stop thinking about it.
I guess that drive is why we are doing what we do.
"That others may live..."
Eric and K9 Eve