The massive earthquake that rumbled through Haiti on Jan. 12 left the capital city of Port-au-Prince buried underneath piles and piles of debris, twisted metal, fallen trees and shattered concrete — and underneath that, countless human survivors clinging desperately to the last remnants of life.
Often, the first sign of hope survivors hear in the wreckage is the sound of a dog barking and pawing through the rubble.
Many of the search and rescue dogs dispatched in the wake of disasters such as the Haiti quake are trained by The Search Dog Rescue Foundation, a nonprofit based in Ojai. The organization trains dog rescue teams to find survivors in the wake of disasters — everything from earthquakes and hurricanes to terrorist attacks and train wrecks.
When initial reports of the earthquake came in, the foundation’s search teams were immediately called to action. Dog-and-handler teams from Los Angeles were airlifted onto the Caribbean island on a military cargo plane as part of a 72-member California rescue task force.