Search Dogs Are First Responders at Tornado Destruction Sites

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Search dogs from the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation ( were some of the first responders to the devastation that hit the Midwest in the past few days. After tornados carved a path of destruction and death, search dogs were deployed immediately.

One of the worst tornados in history hit Moore, Oklahoma, where at least 24 people, including 9 children, were reportedly killed. Entire neighborhoods were leveled, leaving many people searching for any sign of their belongings, pets and even family members. Nine Search Dog Foundation teams have been working alongside emergency responders to recover those still missing.

The Search Dog Foundation gave a description of one of the dogs continuing to work tirelessly to find survivors:

Taz was rescued by SDF (Search Dog Foundation) volunteer Laura Rathe from the Crescent City Animal Shelter in 2008. Taz arrived at Sundowners kennels in 2008, where he passed his evaluation with flying colors, impressing the trainers with his endless energy and drive…Taz graduated from training and was partnered with Oklahoma City firefighter Mark Edwards in November, 2008.

When the tornado hit, Taz was in California for a special tune-up training. How to quickly get Taz home from California? SDF (Search Dog Foundation) volunteer Tim Turpin picked him up at 4:30 in the morning from the home of SDF Executive Director Debra Tosch and headed to the airport. Taz landed in Oklahoma City, and his handler, Mark Edwards, waited for a break in the storm to pick up his trusted partner and immediately left to begin searching.”

Taz is only one of the many heroes doing all they can, alongside their handlers, to recover missing survivors. The Search Dog Foundation ( sends out teams to aid in recovery efforts in disaster throughout the United States. The Search Dog Foundation is the only organization that partners dogs rescued from animal shelters with firefighters and trains them at no cost to the government or to tax payers.

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