Santa Barbara
75° F
Santa Maria
77° F
San Luis Obispo
76° F
74° F

New search and rescue dog has big paws to fill

By Victoria Sanchez, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Anchor/Reporter,
Published On: Aug 12 2013 04:58:28 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 12 2013 07:26:59 PM CDT

New search dog has big paws to fill

GOLETA, Calif. -

A longtime member of the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue Team is enjoying retirement.

Blaze, the 11-year-old search dog, is leaving a big hole in the team but a new puppy is on his way to follow in the paw prints of his predecessor.

"What's this?" asked Juanita Smith as she showed Blaze a piece of cloth. "Suche!"

Suche in German means search. She commanded her dog to find the person associated with the cloth. It's training they've done at least once a week since the border collie was a puppy.

For nine years, Blaze has helped search for missing people and even human remains. Dual certified, he's led 81 searches in and outside Santa Barbara County. In total, he's worked more than 530 hours sniffing, searching and finding.

"Good boy!" praised Smith after Blaze found the acting-victim during his training.

Smith is a Search and Rescue volunteer and is a pro at training dogs. She was a K-9 handler for the Santa Barbara Police Department for five years.

Although she isn't slowing down, Blaze is.

"He hasn't lost any energy when it comes to toy but he is slowing down so we're going to let him retire and be a dog for a little bit," she said.

Now it's time for a new dog to lead the team; although 4-month-old Caper doesn't know it yet.

Caper's training might just look like play now, but it's the start of serious work.

"The goal is to get them to take it and bring it back," said Smith. "Once he knows he has to bring it back, then it becomes a focus for him. So then what you start doing is start throwing the toy out, hiding his eyes, and then telling him to go find it. And so now he's finding his favorite toy."

That drive will soon be turned into training to become Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue certified. But until then, it's all fun and games.

It will take Caper around two years until he's fully certified. Then he will earn his own Search and Rescue vest.



The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Body of Isaiah Sanchez Recovered at Cachuma Lake

    Santa Barbara County sheriff rescue crews have found a body near the place where Isaiah Sanchez went missing.

  • Ellwood Fire

    Explosion at Goleta Apartment Complex Leaves One Man Hospitalized

    Santa Barbara County Fire crews responded to an explosion and fire at an apartment complex on 447 Ellwood Drive in Goleta.   Fire officials received the call at around 7:00 p.m. One person was injured and taken to the hospital with severe burns.  The apartment manager helped put out a small fire that broke out after the blast. The explosion and fire are still under investigation.  The fire did not spread to any adjoining apartments.

  • Santa Paula Reserve Police Officer Resigns After Posting Video About Bicyclists

    Volunteer posted a YouTube video joking about running over bicyclists.

  • Juvenile Hall Court to Host Gang-related Murder Trial

    The so-called "U-Haul murder trial" is expected to be another high security, gang-related trial that requires extra time and money to make it work at the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall courtroom which is seen as the most practical venue.

  • What You Need to Know Before Accepting an Ice Challenge

    It's a challenge that has gone viral. It's known as "The Cold Water Challenge," but could this latest trend be harmful to your health?

  • dangerous dogs

    Orcutt Family Starts Petition to Change County Ordinance

    An Orcutt family is fighting to keep their dogs from being euthanized, and is now trying to change a county ordinance on aggressive dogs. The family has an online petition spreading their message on the internet in an effort to get the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisor's attention.

    Peggy Henning remembers the day her family welcomed Daisy and Duke into their family like it was yesterday.

    "They immediately just became part of the family," said Henning. "They were very friendly with all the guests we had coming over."

    But things changed when Daisy and Duke got loose. They liked chasing cats.

    "Dogs are pack animals and that is their default instinct," said Henning. "If they are bonded or litter mates, it intensifies that. They would get out of the confines of our house or yard and this instinct would come to the surface."

  • inspection_report_public_health_notice

    Health Inspectors Look Into Restaurant Bug

    Old Town Mexican Café in Old Orcutt has never failed an inspection in the past according to the Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services Department. On satruday several diners spotted bugs at the restaurant

  • New Family Friendly Tasting Room Opens in Solvang

     A new winery in Solvang recently opened their doors, and they are making their tasting room open to everyone.

  • Slideshow: Rescue Crews Find Body In Cachuma Lake

    Santa Barbara County sheriff rescue crews have found a body near the place where Isaiah Sanchez went missing.

  • Slideshow: Blondes VS Brunettes Charity Football Game

    A charity football game at the Polo fields in Carpinteria pits the Blondes vs Brunettes. The all-women football teams duked it out on Saturday to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association. Both teams fought fiercely but in the end, only one came out the victor.

    Photography by Oscar Flores.