It was a year ago today that we said goodbye to our beloved Tango. We still think about her daily. Those big, pointy ears….
Her beautiful, gentle brown eyes…
The way she ran like a cheetah. She would flatten her ears for increased aerodynamics and speed…them bring them up to use as flaps to help slow her down…..
And the big wet puppy kisses she would give to anyone that would let her get close enough.
She was a real ambassador for the Canadian Search Dog Association…..
We still miss you our little ‘search girl’. We know you will be faithfully waiting for us to join you.
Linking up to Wordless Wednesday at Blogpaws:
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Earlier this year SARShop.com contacted search and rescue groups from around the world asking members to submit photos of their dogs. Their plan was to produce the first Search and Rescue calendar. We submitted a couple of pictures of our beautiful Tango and then promptly forgot about it. Just a couple of days before Tango crossed over the rainbow bridge we received an email telling us that Tango’s picture had been chosen for the calendar. This weekend we received our complimentary copy of the 2015 calendar. It was very emotional for us to see our girl’s picture in the calendar. The picture above is the one they chose. She is part of a group of pictures for the month of July.
Back in 2012 this picture of Tango was chosen to hang in the Royal Alberta Museum as part of their Wolf to Woof exhibit. (read more about it here).
Just a few more pictures of our girl. She always looked like she was smiling. Gosh I miss her……..
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Yesterday Don and Tango had their annual RCMP certification in 4 profiles (small article, alley, large article, person) and obedience . I am very proud to say that they passed. During their large article test a stray dog came into their search area and wanted to play with Tango. Our girl just kept searching and didn’t even look at the other dog. There were four RCMP dog handlers observing the certification and they were really impressed with her focus and dedication to her search. Knowing our dominant, bossy girl….I bet she didn’t want to share her “prize” with another dog so she was determined to find it first.
Last weekend we were in Slake Lake to participate in a large multi-agency Mock Search put on by the Slave Lake Regional Fire Service. There were people from the RCMP, Edmonton Regional Search and Rescue, Canadian Search Dog Association, Slake Lake Search and Rescue to name a few. We had 9 dogs teams there representing Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. It was a very well planned and thought out exercise that had scenarios and search areas to suit each group. We even had helicopters flying low over head throughout the day. The dogs did great and didn’t seem concerned about the noise or the low flying choppers. No one encountered any bears or angry wildlife and we all had a great time.
I am proud to say that Don and Tango passed their annual RCMP Cadaver certification last night. They had three 20 x 20 metre fields that they had to search, one had no material in it and the other two had 1-3 samples. The scent sources were placed 48 hours prior to the test. They were allowed 30 minutes per field but they completed all three fields in approximately 20 minutes. They found all samples and correctly identified the negative field. Don said that it was a ‘thing of beauty’ watching our girl work the fields. Tango got Timmy bits as her reward and the skinny guy and I are going out for dinner tonight for our celebration. Yeah Team!!!!
Last week we took Wally and Tango to Chewed Slippers photography studio to get some pictures taken. We had so much fun. They ended up featuring two of our pictures on their blog. The first one was of Wally lying down in front of his favourite treats….Timbits. The drool was pouring out the sides of his massive jowls and he was desperately waiting for the ‘OK’ command to chow down.
Check out the blog post here… Dog Drooling over Tim Horton Timbits, Doggie Tales, Dogs in Edmonton, What’s New | Chewed Slippers.
The second picture features our beautiful SAR girl Tango with a Canadian Search Dog Association jacket in the background. Isn’t it absolutely stunning.
Here is a link to the blog post: Custom Designed Artwork For Dog Owners, Doggie Tales, Dogs in Edmonton | Chewed Slippers.
Last night we attended the opening night of the Wolf to Woof exhibit at the Royal Alberta Museum. It was exciting to see Tango’s picture hanging in the museum. There was a wonderful formal presentation and we got to hear the stories behind all the winning pictures. There were 30 winners chosen to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Friends of the Royal Alberta Museum Society (FRAMS), 10 in each of the following 3 categories: Best Buddy, Hall of Shame and Hall of Fame. Tango was a winner in the Hall of Fame category. We were presented with a beautiful framed copy of her picture and bio. When the exhibit ends this fall, we will also get the framed picture that was hanging in the gallery all summer.
I highly recommend checking out the exhibit. It was well done and very informative for people of all ages who are interested in dogs.
On Sunday we volunteered to set up a booth at the Humane Society’s annual Pets in the Park. Tango was a little excited when we first got there. Both she and Don were wearing their “search gear” so she thought that she was there to work. Once she figured out that there wasn’t going to be any searching, she settled down and helped greet all the visitors and their pets.
Don and Tango passed their annual RCMP certification test today. Although it has been raining non-stop all day they went ahead with the testing. The large articles have been laying out in the test field for two rain filled days, but Tango found them all. The people search was picture perfect and a thing of beauty. She hit on the scent more than 75 yards away. They were tested on 4 profiles today: large articles, small articles, people and alleys. Their cadaver test will happen this fall. I wasn’t allowed to watch the certifcation tests because I am too much of a distraction for our girl. While she is searching she likes to do a ‘run-by’ just to say hi to Mom.
I’m so proud of them. We are going to have a celebration dinner tonight!!!
I got Don a book on search and rescue training for his birthday. He had been reading it and when he took a break, he put it down on the couch beside him. Next thing we know, our search girl has crawled up beside him and put her paw on the the cover of the book. It was such a perfect photo opportunity that you would almost think that we posed it…..but we didn’t.
Team Tango are in southern Alberta participating in a provincial mock search. Both ground pounders (people) and dog search groups work together on different wilderness profiles to practice their skills and working with one another. The scenario for Saturday’s morning was to search was for a missing 30 year old woman with her 19 month old baby. All of the various search teams headed off looking for the pair. Team Tango left the base camp around 11am. First Tango found an abandoned campsite with some clothing followed by a pen sitting on a mound of snow. Around noon Tango starting indicating that she detected another human scent and headed off in pursuit with Don following closely behind her. We are proud to say that Team Tango found the missing pair. As is her custom, she has to give everyone a very enthusiastic face wash….and she was particularly interested in the baby in the back pack. She keep going up on her hind legs to get a sniff. Needless to say Don was thrilled with her performance and she was rewarded with playtime with her favourite ball.
Team Tango continued their search in the River Valley on Tuesday. It seems like every picture and video that has been taken of the search features Don’s rear end. People are starting to tease him that that is his best profile.
We hope that the search will provide some closure for the many families affected by the large number of missing women in the Edmonton area.
Here is a new link to an Edmonton Sun article. Again….I don’t know how long these link will be active.
Edmonton Sun Feature Article
Today Don and Tango took part in a search at the request of the RCMP and Project Kare. All the local print and tv news groups were there. Although there were 3 teams from the Canadian Search Dog Association it looks like most of the coverage features Don and Tango….probably because my girl is so beautiful and photogenic.
Here are the links to the various media sources:
Here’s a picture of Don and Tango from Global News Edmonton:
I don’t know how long these links will work but hopefully they will be valid for a few days.
On Friday morning there was a news report about hunters finding a human skull. Within hours the request came for cadaver dogs to search the surrounding area to see if more human remains could be located. Team Tango left the house very early this morning to aid in the search.
Team Tango got their first call-out for a cadaver search. They were up at 04:30 Sunday morning and on the highway for the long drive to the search site. They met up with two other dog teams who had made the trip the night before. Although no human remains were found, it was a good opportunity to practice their newest profile.
Tango has another certification to add to her list. Yesterday she passed her Cadaver test. There were 3 fields set up. Two had an unknown number of samples and one had none. Don had 20 minutes to search each field. At the end he had to identify how many samples were in each field and which field had none. He was a little nervous and wanted to be very thorough so he took the full 60 minutes to complete his test (some of the more experienced handlers completed all 3 fields in 20 minutes). Our girl found every single sample and made us very proud. It is amazing to think that just a little over a month ago they started learning this new profile.
Dogs can smell things humans can’t because they have more nasal membrane than we do. We have about 65 square inches of nasal membrane, while dogs have about 900 square inches — an area that’s greater than that of a dog’s whole body. The nasal membrane is packed with olfactory receptors, specialized cells responsible for detecting scents. A German shepherd typically has about 220 million olfactory receptors, while a human has about 5 million. Experts believe that the bigger the dog and the longer her muzzle, the keener her sense of smell will be. German shepherds aren’t just better at sniffing out scents than humans are, they’re better at it than most other breeds of dogs. A terrier may only have 150 million olfactory receptors, and a dachshund has about 125 million. As human remains decay, they produce a variety of very distinct odours. The odours are like a signature, because they appear nowhere else in nature. A cadaver dog can actually detect human remains through concrete, buried underground, or at the bottom of a body of water, using its extremely well-honed nose to search for faint traces of the chemicals emitted by the human body during decomposition.
In search and rescue operations, cadaver dogs can be used to ensure that every body on the site is found, so that the family can have peace of mind and closure. A cadaver dog can also be used to search for a missing person, or for someone who is known to be dead.
In addition to being used to find whole bodies, cadaver dogs are also trained to react to any trace of human remains. This can be very useful in crime investigations, because a cadaver dog can indicate that a cadaver was in a particular location at one point, even if it is no longer there. They can also find traces of bodies which criminals have attempted to conceal by destroying the evidence.
Congratulations Don and Tango…..a true team!!!
One of the members of the search group got a new 9 week old puppy on the weekend. She is such a sweetie. She is joining a household with one senior German Shepherd (Sisko) and another one that is about a year and a half (Halo). I got my much needed fix of puppy breath and smooches. She doesn’t have a name yet but I’m sure it will be coming soon.
Here are a few pictures of Halo with her head and giant ears sticking out the cat door:
Tilly meeting Chief. You can tell by her body language that she is thinking…..”my what a big puppy you are…..Mommy help!!”
Last night Tango started training for her next level of certification. She is learning how to identify the scent of human remains. It is called cadaver training.
She did 3 trials and appeared to be getting the idea. As her training progresses she will learn to lie down when she finds this scent. They are out training again tonight.
Team Tango was at the search site until noon on Thursday when the search was called off because it was too dangerous to continue. It had been raining all morning and the trails became very muddy and slippery. Thursday night another request was made for dogs to search on Friday. Don took another vacation day and headed out to the command post at noon on Friday. Unfortunately the missing person was not located but it was an excellent opportunity for real life training for the dogs.
Tango has been taught to search for human scent. She found 2 laptop cases, a pair of rollerblades, 2 running shoes, a bicycle and last but not least….Tango’s personal favorite…a pair of men’s underwear. She came prancing out the woods with her treasure dangling out the side of her mouth. Don was particularly grateful that he was wearing leather gloves when he accepted that human scented article and told her what a good girl she was.
Last night the local Police requested dog teams to help with a search. Don was able to take a vacation day from work and bright and early this morning he and Tango grabbed their gear and headed off to assist. Good luck and be careful.
They did it. Don and Tango passed all their certification tests. It was a long and challenging day but definitely worth it (to read the blow by blow details see the post below). They are now certified in 5 profiles:
- Large Articles
- Small Articles
We were up at 6am this morning to get Tango fed and Don off to his certification test. Unfortunately it is raining and there isn’t much air movement which will make it very tough for the dogs. The testing started at 8am and Don had strict instructions to phone me as soon as he completed each of the five tests. I still hadn’t heard from him by 09:30 so I texted him to see what was happening. Unfortunately things are moving slowly and he hasn’t even started his first test yet. The poor guy is soaking wet and he still has the whole day ahead of him.
11:00 – just got an update. They have competed the large article test and they passed. One down and 4 to go.
2:45pm – They just finished their small article search. This is the one we were the most concerned about. We know that she will find the articles but she doesn’t always lie down when she does. She did it! She found all 4 articles. Next comes the people search.
3pm – Obedience test completed. The wind has picked up so that is going to help. Don’s clothes are starting to dry out. He had to stop and drain his boots and ring out his socks.
3:15 – Person search done. Yippee! Four profiles completed so there is just alleys left. They are leaving the field and heading to a residential area for the last test.
4:28 – Alleys….passed. It’s official….Team Tango is certified for another year!!!
Don and Tango have their certification test on Saturday. For the last couple of weeks they have been out training 5-6 times a week to make sure they are ready. Last night they worked on searching alleys. It was a particularly tough test for Tango because there was virtually no air movement. Instead of smelling an article many feet away and zoning in on the scent, she had to be almost on top of it before she could smell it. She got a real surprise when she found a hidden hammer just as a dog on the other side of the fence starting barking and charging the fence. Even with all the challenges, she managed to find all of her articles.