The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue K9 team assists in a variety of emergencies. The handlers volunteer their time and resources to help the community, relying heavily on donations for support.
The K9 teams cover all emergency situations, from locating a missing child to finding a hiker lost in the wilderness. There are six teams in Shasta County: two deployable teams, three well into training and one puppy just starting the program.
Gail Gale is the public relations leader for the Search and Rescue K9 team. Gale has been training with the unit for more than three years. She has a full time job, but like all the handlers spends her free time volunteering and training with the team. In order for the K9 teams to be successful, they need to be dedicated and train relentlessly to keep their skills sharp.
“To be able to go out in a place like this on my free time and play and do something good at the same time is a win-win for me,” says Gale.
For the dogs it is a fun game of hide-and-seek. But for their handlers, it’s an important mission that could save a life. Dogs are used as a specialized tool for the search and rescue efforts because of their sense of smell, and their ability to quickly track a scent. The dogs start training as young as 7 weeks old, and it can take up to two years before they are ready to be deployed for service.
Gale says it takes a lot of dedication and hard work to be a handler, and says it is all worth it.
“That’s the humblest act I could do for my fellow man is to help when I can,” says Gale.
If you would like to help out the Search and Rescue K9 team they have a fundraiser coming up on June 1, 2013 at the Water Works Park at 151 North Boulder Creek in Redding from 6:30 p.m.-10p.m. The event costs $10.00 and there will be live music, raffles and door prizes. All proceeds will go towards the team. To purchase tickets in advance or for more information contact the organizer Gail Gale at (530) 410-1375.
Also, if you would like to donate to their organization, they are a non-profit and all donations are tax deductible. You can contact Gail Gale at (530) 410-1375 or their team captain, Angie Forslund at (530) 739-4007.