K-9 Search and Rescue Teams Train in Bay County - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

K-9 Search and Rescue Teams Train in Bay County

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These pups give a whole new meaning to the phrase 'working dog.' This working dog wants to go back on the job.

"Mohito is a two year and seven month old lab," said Whitney Hartz, Mohito's handler. "She was specifically picked from the litter for this."

'This' is K9 Search and Rescue training.  The Bay County Sheriff's Office Wilderness Campground is holding a seminar for dogs like Mohito and their handlers.

Groups from all over the state of Florida have come for the four day workshop. For this day of training Greg Cole is in charge of teaching evidence recovery.

"I've been working and training dogs since 1976," said Cole. "Where I worked in the United States Air Force."

Mohito and Hartz spent several runs doing evidence recovery with Cole. While law enforcement agencies have their own K-9s,  Search and Rescue dogs have found their own niche.

"While those dogs are capable of doing it these dogs are specifically trained to find either human remains or live people that are missing," said Cole. "And find evidence or article search, which we are doing out here today, and generally area and wilderness search for missing people."

"You are using the dogs natural skills and natural instincts to do what it does," said Hartz. "But-- as humans-- we need most of the training."

"The dogs always progress faster than we do," said Cole.

Also progressing in their training is Messi Rue and Trey Todd.

Rue is trained in live area searches, but Todd wants her to double major in human remains and evidence detection.

"She did pretty well," said Todd. "She was able to find both of the objects."

Both dogs and handlers traveled to take this course in order to broaden the scope of their mission.

"It's incredible to be here and to see the different responses to the dogs and their handlers," said Todd. "It's a good way to learn new ideas."

"Their dogs are their family," said Cole. "They're just like their children and you see the love between the dogs and the handlers and it goes up and down that leash."

So with guidance, and a lot of praise, the two dogs not only find objects, but their rhythm as well.

This weekend the teams will be out in the community doing training specifically for urban areas.