This is Gabilan's Perdido; AKC SN372150/06 - we call him Dido (dee'-do) for short.
Perdido means lost in Spanish. He's not missing, but he can find people who are. Together, he and I are a search and rescue (SAR) team with Alameda County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Canine Specialized Support Team http://www.csst.org, and The California Rescue Dog Assoc, Inc. http://www.carda.org. This isn't like guide dogs where I raise a puppy, then give him up to be trained and placed to work with someone else. We train, certify, and search together as a SAR team.
We are in the trailing discipline of K-9 search & rescue; given something with a individual's scent on it and a starting point, Perdido can follow a person's path. You see this search discipline most often in the movies - bloodhounds tracking escaped criminals. In rescue, trailing dogs may be used to help find people lost in the wilderness, as well as those who may have wandered off in urban areas, most often children and Alzheimer victims. He has been able to follow a trail laid seven days earlier; he can even follow a trail left by a person in a car. He loves it; he thinks the find people game is the most fun there is! Perdido also does ID work, or 'scent matching.' He can tell if two items have the same scent on them. This skill is investigatory and helps agencies sort through clues. For instance, given an item with a person's scent on it, he can tell if the subject has been in a car or if an item of clothing was theirs or was touched by them. It has been two years of training, skill tests, mock searches, and certifications - but are finally a mission ready-team!
The picture above was taken when he was about 4 months old.
He was born August 19, 1996; I've had him
since his 49th day. At 6 months he weighed 59.5 pounds; now he's
a bruising 78 pounds at 2 years (picture right). I selected him
for his personality, which I thought would be great for SAR work
and fit in with the rest of my family. He loves people, is curious
as well as fearless and has lots of energy and drive. I'm very
happy to say we have a waiver to the no-pet policy at work. On
training days, Dido can be found in my office - usually sprawled,
snoozing in his crate, waiting to go out and SEARCH!
Here we are dressed up in our working clothes...