When an avalanche hits, burying skiers and snowboarders in a deep, dark tomb of snow, it takes rescue dogs, with their acute smell receptors, to locate survivors. Avy dogs are employed all over the world, raiding the depths of despair with their friendly dog faces. One notable resort has really taken an impressive diligence in training and caring for their four-legged heroes – Squaw Valley.
The Squawdogs are an elite group of rescue dogs dedicated to avalanche rescue and education. The Squaw Avalanche Rescue Dog program has been growing ever since its establishment in the 1980’s, and has had as many as ten active dogs on the hill. In 2001, Squaw adopted the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association training standard. Every winter since, Squaw Valley has hosted and organized an Avalanche Rescue Dog Seminar for dogs and handlers. These dogs not only provide service for Squaw Valley, but also to the greater Lake Tahoe Community.
Wylee, Tucker, Murphy, and Rasco even went to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics. They also help to spread avalanche awareness by accompanying their handlers at school and community events. They are truly invaluable heros.
Check out this video of the Squawdogs in action!
Photo courtesy of Squawdogs
Video courtesy of Squaw Valley