Rescue dogs

Search and rescue dogs train in Marthasville

Cindy Gladden, correspondent

Dogs have one of the most sensitive noses in the world. According to the American Kennel Club, a dog’s nose contains approximately 225 million olfactory receptors, while the human nose contains only 5 million.

Search and rescue dogs are known for their incredible ability to sort out these scents and help various law enforcement and search agencies identify drugs and explosives, track a missing person or finding human remains on land or in water.

“You can’t match the nose,” said Glenda Eichmeyer as she introduced a team of volunteer dog handlers and their canine counterparts.

Mid-Missouri Search Dogs (Canine Search and Rescue Association) provides trained dogs that are available to respond with local first responders to locate lost or missing people in a variety of environments. They are certified in detection of contrail, air odor and human remains.

Recently, one of the dogs was certified under FEMA guidelines to respond with Missouri Task Force 1, which is operated by the Boone County Fire Protection District. The team is specially trained to respond to natural disasters in the United States.

Athena, a brown and white border collie, handled by Eichmeyer, has recently passed rigorous testing and will accompany Eichmeyer to areas affected by tornadoes, hurricanes or other situations where search dogs are needed.

Juno, another border collie from Eichmeyer’s kennel, is certified in live tracking. At a local training event, Eichmeyer engaged Juno in an exercise to let her know that the person or scent they were looking for was not in the area using a technique called casting, which includes searching for a large circular area.

In addition to canine certifications, Eichmeyer is rich in certifications, including Crime Scene Preservation, K9 First Aid, Scent Theory, Lost Person Behavior, and a long list of additional certifications that she uses to be prepared to respond locally or with Missouri Task Force 1.

Five team members recently conducted team training on the grounds of Charrette Baptist Church in Marthasville. Several challenges were presented to the dogs. Xena, a mixed breed rescue dog, works with her handler Shane Wohler. Xena, who would probably be considered elderly, excels as a human remains detection dog.

Wohler said some dogs react to the distinct smell of human remains, but don’t like it and don’t excel as human remains detectors. Xena, on the other hand, is an expert in finding a dead person.

“She won’t react to dead animals,” Wohler said. “She will sit and look at me when she detects something. She will even raise her nose if the object is placed high up in a bush or tree.

Jennifer Poindexter attended training with rookie Ellie, a young Rottweiler. Ellie was just beginning her training. He was asked to follow his handler and “locate” her in an easy test.
Gimli, a male border collie, was also working on live tracking, with his handler Laura Langton. Ace, owned by handler Jackie Bross, is currently in training as a human remains detection dog.

“We always want to end on a high note,” Eichmeyer said. “They process what they did and remember it. We also let them choose the job they want and the reward they prefer. Sometimes they’re treat-oriented, and sometimes they’re toy-oriented.

Bross said you have to work on their minds to get them to rest. She said sometimes bad behavior in a dog can be stopped by challenging its thinking, not just giving it physical exercise.

Dogs on Duty, a therapy dog ​​group that provides equipment to first responders, recently awarded Mid-Missouri Search Dogs five GPS collars worth more than $3,500. The group provided cooling vests and Kevlar vests for police dogs. Their therapy dogs often visit schools and other groups to provide information about their organization. More information can be found at dogsonduty.org.

Mid-Missouri Search Dogs is available free to first responder agencies 24 hours a day. To learn more about the organization, visit www.searchk9team.org. The entire team has more than 45 years of experience and more than 3,000 hours of training. Eichmeyer can be contacted by emailing [email protected]