Avalanche Golden Retriever Shooter

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Coming to save you this winter: Trained dogs go after avalanche victims
By Siobhan McAndrew, Reno Gazette-Journal

For the last two years, Shooter Slusser has learned the ins and outs of Alpine Meadows ski resort. He knows the faces of the skiers and which ski lifts go to green trails and which go to double black diamonds.

As a valued member of the ski patrol, he received his avalanche certification in Utah and maintains his skills by training at least once a week in search and rescue techniques. And instead of a paycheck, Shooter is content with being paid in dog food. Shooter, a golden retriever, is one of eight avalanche rescue dogs used at Alpine. Local ski resorts including Squaw Valley, Kirkwood Ski Resort and Mammoth Mountain have had avalanche dog programs for more than 20 years.

“Dogs are just one part of what we have in case of an emergency,” said Brian Slusser, Shooter’s owner and a member of Alpine’s Ski Patrol for 15 years.

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Slusser brought Shooter up to Alpine last year when he was a puppy to get him familiar with ski lifts, skiers and the veteran rescue dogs. “Getting them used to all sorts of situations is the first step in training a dog used for rescue,” said Slusser.

This year, Shooter has been trained to do live rescues. Beginning as a puppy, dogs are taught games of run away and fetch using two people. One person holds the dog, while another person runs away. The dog is released and taught to find the runaway person. That leads to a three-person runaway game — one person holds the dog, one person runs and hides and another person covers the simulated victim with snow.

There’s much more with loads to learn about these specially trained dogs

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Click here to learn more about Being Buried Alive.  And, to see a very cool video of an  Avalanche Golden during training making a find, just click here.

Inspiring our youngsters

I was quite moved by the work of a youngster named Corey, and probably taken by his name as that is the name of my baby brother, who was taken some years ago, and far too early, by cancer. Be sure to learn more about the organization that inspired his special mission, People Helping Pets.

Animal emergency – Coral Springs boy distributes oxygen masks for pets to area fire departments
By Nicole T. Lesson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

One Coral Springs boy. One good deed. The potential for many pet lives saved. Fire departments throughout Broward County — including in Coral Springs, Parkland, Tamarac, Margate, Coconut Creek, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Cooper City and Plantation — recently received pet oxygen masks through the efforts of Corey Lustig, 12.

The sixth-grader at Coral Springs Middle School raised enough money in almost a year, more than $1,800, to buy 30 pet oxygen masks as a service project for his bar mitzvah.

“A lot of animals die in fires,” said Corey, whose bar mitzvah will be March 24 at the Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland. “There’s a lot of pets, and they may need help.” The masks have labels showing rescuers how much oxygen the animal would need based on weight, Corey said.

“The dog’s mouth goes into the mask, and then you hook it up to an oxygen tank,” he said.

Pembroke Pines firefighters recently used one of the donated masks to treat a golden retriever puppy for smoke inhalation from a house fire. “Firefighters found him inside the house and he was very lethargic,” Pembroke Pines Fire-Rescue spokesman Shawn Hallich said. “They administered oxygen for about 8 minutes and his status dramatically changed.”

Pembroke Pines rescuers also used the mask to provide oxygen to a cat who was not as critical as the puppy.

Corey, who has a cat named Safari, said he knew he wanted to help animals. He credited the late Steven Paul of Wiles Road Animal Hospital in Coral Springs, his family’s longtime veterinarian, with helping with the project. [Dr. Paul is shown here with his beloved Saint. Hopefully, they are together now.]


Remembering Golden Retriever Elvis

Training goes to the dogs … and owners
BY Mitch Albom, FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

There is a dog show in Detroit this weekend, and 60,000 people are expected to attend, and 3,000 dogs, and 163 breeds, and we won’t even count the plastic bags and scoopers.

And at some point during the show, as thousands of spectators cheer, the prized pooches will walk alongside their owners, in lockstep, in gentle canter, paws bouncing as if on marshmallows, coats groomed, heads erect, spines straight.

It reminds me of the day I trained my dog. In the driveway. I had paid a trainer to come and work with my pup, a beautiful golden retriever who I called Elvis, because, in the end, he wasn’t nothing but a hound dog, even if I did pay the trainer 50 bucks an hour.

Personally, I thought, for that kind of cash, trainer and dog should go out behind the house, and when they return, the dog not only fetches the remote control and never again goes poo-poo on the carpet, it also speaks French.

Au contraire, my terrier. Role reversals in training. As it turns out, the trainer trains YOU. Trains you to talk. Trains you to tug the leash. Trains you to make certain sounds with your voice (including, and I swear this is true, mimicking the low, guttural growl that its mother made when, as a puppy, your dog was nursing too hard. This apparently is the only “no” a dog ever pays attention to, figuring that, if it doesn’t, Mama Dog might sell Baby Dog to a kennel. Of course, the dog winds up sold anyhow, thereby shattering its faith in humanity and creating the facial expression dogs display when you coo, “Here, boy! Here, boy!” and the dog’s eyes narrow as if to say, “Right, fatso. Who you calling boy?”).

There’s much more . . . .

Golden Retriever Shadow – a reluctant weatherman

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Everyone talks about the weather; this dog does something about it

By Susan D. Brandenburg, SOUTHSIDE NOTES

A 114-pound, 8-year-old Southside golden retriever named Shadow is a walking weather vane, according to his owner, Linda Cannaley of Jacksonville Golf and Country Club.

“We can tell for hours before it starts that a storm is in the air,” said Cannaley, describing Shadow’s pre-storm procedures, which include sniffing all the electrical plugs in the house, attempting to ground himself in the bathtub, pacing, crying and climbing up on furniture and away from the floor. Most recently, at 3 a.m., when a tornado was hitting south of their home, “Shadow began crying and pacing and wouldn’t stop for an hour,” Cannaley said.

Shadow, she said, has good reason to be concerned about the weather and is particularly afraid of thunderstorms. Three years ago, she and her husband, Jim, rescued the bedraggled dog from an unhappy situation where he had been deserted by a negligent family and left tethered by a 10-foot chain to an old shed in the Ohio countryside.

There’s more . . .