Have you ever wondered what happens to dogs in shelters? More than 3.3 million dogs end up in shelters each year, but only half of them make it to the adoption process — the rest face euthanization.
This statistic is startling and saddening on many levels, but it’s sparked an overwhelming need to inspire and ignite change for our furry friends in need.
Wanting to do our part to help these wonderful animals, we reached out to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF), a non-profit organization in Santa Paula, California. They’re doing amazing things, taking the dogs from the point of “rescue” and training them to become the “rescuer.” Dogs who complete the training program are partnered with firefighters and other first responders to assist in rescues at the sites of natural disasters.
This foundation holds a special place in our hearts, especially since they’re saving the lives of many dogs that end up in the shelter system. Once dogs are adopted out, they will never re-enter the shelter system again, even if their training doesn’t work out. If, for some reason, a dog doesn’t complete the SDF training program, it is placed in a new career field or adopted to a Lifetime Care home. To borrow a phrase: no dog is left behind.
Let’s take a look at how this foundation started.
Where It All Began
The Search Dog Foundation was created by a retired school teacher named Wilma Melville. Back in 1995, Wilma and her dog were deployed to the site of the Oklahoma City bombing.
They found one survivor, but this heartbreaking situation made her realize the tremendous need for this type of rescue. Wilma was determined to close the gap, so she created the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation — the rest is history!
She set out to achieve a specific set of goals for her foundation. She wanted to exclusively use rescue dogs, pairing them with highly skilled firefighters and police officers, at no cost to the fire departments and disaster response agencies.
Pretty impressive, right? You don’t hear a lot about search dogs in general, but they significantly impact society — especially when disaster strikes.
The Impact Search Dogs Have on Society
What makes a search dog such a valuable asset? Think about some of our worst tragedies — 9/11, the Oklahoma City Bombing, Hurricane Katrina — all of these scenarios involved chaos, confusion, and limited visibility and access to those who were injured or trapped.
This is where our search dogs come into the picture. Canines have a remarkable sense of smell. They can smell 10,000 to 100,000 times more accurately than humans, meaning they can use that powerful olfactory sense to locate people and save them — when trained properly. In the case of the tragedies above, SDF dogs did just that.
Aside from the smell factor, dogs can also move into smaller spaces, where humans can’t fit. If the rescue team suspects a person is stranded deep in a small space, they can send a trained canine in to confirm this before putting a final plan together to save the person in need.
The Training Process
The SDF started adopting abandoned and abused dogs and training them to help people in disastrous situations in 1996. In their 25 years of experience, they’ve found that dogs coming from backgrounds of abuse and abandonment demonstrate the energy, boldness, and tenacity needed to master the training class.
Search Dog Foundation has training locations in California, Florida, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. After they’re adopted, the dogs go through a series of tests and training exercises to determine if they have the skills needed to excel in the program. But, as previously mentioned, even if the dogs don’t work out in the rescue program, they still end up with a loving family — often a firefighter or police officer.
If and when the dogs pass the initial testing phase, they receive eight to 10 weeks of professional training, with 85% of them successfully making it through the training program. This means that firefighters and first responders have intelligent dogs by their side, trained to handle chaotic, dangerous, and intense situations where people may be missing.
The SDF is the only organization of its kind. Of course, all this awesomeness comes with a hefty price tag. The entire process of recruiting, training and placing each dog costs, on average, upwards of $41,000. When we got a closer look into the process and saw what a huge impact this program has on the dogs (and the people they help in dangerous situations), we wanted to create a fundraiser to raise awareness and funds for this incredible cause.
How We’re Helping
When we realized this amazing cause wasn’t government-funded — not to mention the cost that goes into the entire process — we put our heads together to develop a fundraiser. We created a Search Dog Fundraising Bundle that benefits your pup and these heroic dogs who ultimately save countless lives. 100% of the profits from these sales will go directly to Search Dog Foundation.
Here’s what you’ll get when you purchase this bundle.
- • CBD Oil for Pets (500mg)
- • CBD Pet Treats for Joints and Mobility
- • CBD Pet Treats for Stress and Anxiety
- • A portable, collapsible water bowl with carabiner
- • All profits donated to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation
In addition to this great cause, we wanted this bundle to benefit your fur baby, too. So, our Fundraising Bundle has a variety of goodies for their needs.
Our CBD Pet Tincture Oils are of human-grade quality and undergo batch-level lab testing to ensure the purity, quality, and effectiveness you look for in a pet CBD product. Our Pet Tinctures also contain a helpful blend of MCT oil to enhance absorption and effectiveness, so your dog has the same experience each time.
We’ve also added both formulations of our CBD-infused pet treats. Our Joint & Mobility Treats are great for maintaining joint health, particularly for older dogs dealing with aches and pains or mobility issues. Our Stress & Anxiety treats help calm hyperactive or excitable pets. They also ease stress for those nervous moments dogs all face, from time to time.
But most of all, you make this purchase knowing you’ve achieved two things — introducing your dog to a CBD wellness regime (or keeping a routine going!), and showing support to incredible canines saving lives.
When It’s All Said and Done
The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is doing great things. We want to contribute to their noble efforts, and we hope you do too!
Buy a Search Dog Fundraising Bundle and support this great cause!
And if your pooch is suffering from dry or irritated skin, try our new CBD Pet Balm!