dvm - January 2013 - (Page 12)
STETHOSCOPE | Heartbeat of the profession
>>> Search-and-rescue dog Peewee, a Belgian Malinois, stands at attention while members of the Massachusetts Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 team receive their next assignment.
Dogs in the midst of
Staten Island veterinarian dodges piles of trash and debris as fast as he can. A victim of Superstorm Sandy, he has no power and the future of his veterinary practice is unknown—and yet he’s running to hand a piece a paper to the Massachusetts Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 (MA-TF1) team. “He’d already given us a business card but then realized he didn’t have a working clinic phone. He was racing to give us his cell phone number,” says Janet Merrill, DVM, one of the fve volunteer dog handlers for MA-TF1 and co-owner of Wilton Animal Hospital in Wilton, N.H. “Here’s a veterinarian right in the middle of the Sandy devastation ofering to do whatever he could to help us.” Merrill says three more veterinarians ofered their services—free of charge— to assist fve search-and-rescue dogs on the task force. Two Labrador retrievers (Koda and Phedra), two Belgian Malinois (Peewee and Chai) and one Dutch shepherd (Kairu) traveled
Search and rescue canines bring comfort, relief to Sandy victims.
By Ashley Barforoush
with 80 MA-TF1 volunteers to Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3 to help in the Superstorm Sandy relief efort. Most of the victims had already evacuated or been accounted for by the time they arrived. However, that didn’t stop the handlers and dogs from taking diferent shifts and traveling door-to-door,
mans simply couldn’t go. Merrill says it takes very special dogs to do this kind of work—they have to be tremendous athletes but they also have to have tremendous courage. She says they have to venture into dangerous, unstable areas that would be scary for most dogs—not to mention people. “One of the FEMA folks put it
“Houses looked like fallen Pick-Up Sticks— that’s the best way I can describe it. ”
—Janet Merrill, DVM
making sure everyone in the area was safe with supplies. “We targeted homes that were one story because the water was chest deep in some places. You could see water lines on many of the houses,” Merrill says. “Other houses looked like fallen Pick-Up Sticks—that’s the best way I can describe it.” Te highly trained dogs went over, under and through spaces where hubest. She said, ‘Te Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) dogs are the PhDs of the dog world,’” Merrill says. “Tey stay calm and problem-solve in the midst of absolute chaos. It is that mental character that makes them so special.” Of course, in order for these courageous canines to perform to their full potential, they need proper veterinary care to stay healthy. Tat’s where Lori Gordon, DVM, of Veterinary Surgical
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MASSACHUSETTS TASK FORCE
Dogs on duty
Head to dvm360.com /sandyrelief to see more pictures of these search-andrescue dogs in action. You’ll also get a chance to see the disaster through the eyes of Massachusetts Task Force 1.
12 | January 2013 |
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of dvm - January 2013
dvm - January 2013
Where did I go wrong?
Pets and Vets
CATalyst survey examines how veterinarians really feel about animal shelters and pet rescue organizations.
What’s new? What’s now?
Employee steals more than $400,000 from clinic
Longtime veterinarian killed in plane crash in California
Canadian SPCA concerned by number of “home neutering” reports
Arrest made in Minnesota veterinary hospital arson
Washington DVM accused of abusing patients, medications
When faced with disaster, practices need a plan
University of Minnesota celebrates 750,000th urolith
Death to debt
Letter of the law
dvm - January 2013