This beautiful girl is Lady. You can tell that even with that working vest on, that she knows how to have fun (the tennis ball of course gives it away).
Lady has not become a hero by the power of her profound selflessness. She is not into search and rescue for the glory. And no, she doesn’t track down people like the Salinas man who went missing for 36 hours to please her owners. She’s in it for the tennis balls.
Given my dismay over the misdeeds of “self-proclaimed hero”, Scott Shields and his poor and neglectful treatment of Bear, his senior aged Golden Retriever, it is always wonderful to bring you the tales from some of our honest and hard-working heroes. They are the ones who suffer due to the question of credibility that is cast by folks like Mr. Shields.
But, Lady’s handlers and trainer are the real deal. They all sacrifice much time and personal monetary investment to assist in a well-formed emergency response network — constantly prepared to respond to a needed call anywhere and at any time in the Central California area.
Like true hero material, Lady surrounds herself with other heroes. Reitz, a former Army infantryman and public school teacher, has been voluntarily training search and rescue dogs for 20 years, completing 173 searches along the way and helping inspire the Monterey County Sheriffs Department to expand their roster of search and rescue dogs from zero (in 1995) to five. Jim is a magnanimous backer of and volunteer chief for the Sheriff’s Emergency Assistance Team (which led him on the search missions where he met Reitz); his steady volunteerism and prodigious charity work earned him a Jefferson award from the American Institute for Public Service earlier this year.