Saskatoon Search and Rescue is expecting big things from its newest member, even if she is only three years old.
Jenga, a specially trained golden retriever, was officially welcomed to the volunteer organization this week.
“It just adds another tool to our belt to help get people home faster. And the more resources we have, the better,” handler Kate Dean said.
When she’s not volunteering with Search and Rescue, Dean works as a veterinary technician. Two years ago, she said she decided to take on the task of training and caring for a search-and-rescue dog, with support from Search and Rescue and the Saskatoon Police Service.
“As a veterinary tech and as a volunteer Search and Rescue member, I really wanted to tie those two things together and I’ve seen the great work that search-and-rescue dogs have done in other provinces,” she said.
Jenga became Saskatchewan’s first certified civilian search-and-rescue dog this fall after completing a program run out of Edmonton. Dean said the course allows Jenga to find missing people both outdoors and in buildings.
Dean said Jenga is trained to lay down and bark when she locates someone.
“She’s a very lovely, cuddly dog.”
Saskatoon Search and Rescue has been activated by Saskatoon police 28 times in 2018, with 17 of those calls in Saskatoon itself, one call to Prince Albert and the rest seeing the volunteers assisting RCMP in outlying areas.
Dean said she’s enjoyed the training, now she’s looking forward to seeing Jenga get a chance to reunite missing people with their loved ones.
“She’s a great dog to work with, she’s a lot of fun. But just knowing that she’s going to help bring subjects home is great.”