Human beings may well have the biggest brains, in mammals relative to our size, but we are not always the best choice for absolutely every situation. Sometimes it is all about physicality, rather than pure intelligence, which gets the job done. Search and rescue, often, produces those exact conditions, and animals, especially trained dogs, laude it over their human rivals. These exceptional dogs are able to focus their entire physical skills into meeting and overcoming the extreme challenges that they can face in search and rescue situations.
Four Legs Better Than Two for Search and Rescue
I remember one salient example with a dog named Nancy, where a mountaineer had fallen into a crevice in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. Unbelievably at that same time a firestorm was raging through this area and the mountaineer was trapped at the bottom of this crevice. No human being could reach this gentleman and helicopters could not land anywhere near him. We had to make a decision, so, we sent in the dogs and Nancy was the first on the scene. She found his scent despite the smoke and flames tearing through the forested region.
It was not over though, Nancy has to get down to this individual who was injured and trapped at the bottom of this crevice. Fire was all around her and no human could have dealt with the heat, smoke and fear generated by this extreme set of circumstances. Mastering fear can be crucial to a search and rescue operation, if the security and safety of the victim is to be locked down. Nancy, employing all the skills of her training and natural physicality, leapt through flames down a thirty foot drop to land by the injured mountaineer. She then, dragged the man to eventual safety for some three hours.
No man or woman, no matter how well trained, could have performed this task. Only a dog, an extremely well-trained dog, that’s for sure, could have achieved this successful and life-saving outcome. Four legs are better than two for search and rescue at times and in situations like these. A good dog beats a good human hands down when it comes to jumping, leaping, moving really rapidly and facing death defying danger. We could not perform the search and rescue missions that we do without their enormous contribution. Not only man’s best friend, but often his champion, too.