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Rescue dog returns favor by becoming a certified search-and-rescue dog



  • Forrest was rescued from Oregon last year and soon after entered a foundation’s training program on search and rescue.
  • Forrest is a perfect fit for the job, making “fast work of training.”
  • Now a certified search-and-rescue pup, Forrest is with his lifelong first responder partner, Tom Simons, and the two are getting ready for some heroic acts in the future.

Last year, Forrest was rescued from Oregon, and that defining moment was the turning point of his life. He is now a search-and-rescue dog at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s Santa Paula, California facility.

The black Labrador retriever started training in August last year. After months of dedicated work, he graduated from the program on May 28, along with four other talented pups, and became a certified pup officer assisting in search-and-rescue operations

Photo Credit: Dane Mehl/Search Dog Foundation

Forrest was paired with Tom Simons, his lifelong first responder partner. For the meantime, the two are settling in at home, strengthening their bond. Valor years await the duo, where they will help in emergency sites across the country to find and save victims of natural and manmade disasters.

Search Dog Foundation (SDF), which receives support from Farmers Insurance, actively recruits rescue dogs into their search training programs. With it comes healthcare coverage for life, regardless if they graduate from the program or not.

Photo Credit: Dane Mehl/Search Dog Foundation

There are also unfit dogs to search-and-rescue operations, and they are either given a new, more suiting career, or get adopted out to forever families.

As for Forrest, the job rather came easy. The 100-pound pooch is well fit with the rugged, dusty, noisy, rocky nature of work. He even “made fast work of training.”

Photo Credit: Dane Mehl/Search Dog Foundation

According to Farmers Insurance, which helped match the Lab with SDF, the “gentle giant” is “a very big dog who is light on his feet.”

“Forrest did very well, showing trainers every day that he loved to hunt (and to bark)! He was also introduced to building searches, where his confidence soared, and he thrives. Forrest loves to use his nose to hunt — it’s one of the most rewarding things for him,” the statement continued.

Photo Credit: Dane Mehl/Search Dog Foundation

It added, “Trainers also played with him on the rubble with the toy to show him that being on the uneven surface of the concrete can be fun. Forrest has become incredibly confident in finding his footing and enjoyed all the elements of training.”

Source: MSN