LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Kentucky Air National Guard recently added the first Department of Defense search and rescue dog to their team.
Her name is Callie, a 26-month-old Dutch shepherd. The team said Callie’s nose allows them to reduce equipment and speed up the search process. So far, she’s been trained in mountain rescues, rappelling and parachuting.
Callie’s training is part of KYANG’s mission to expand the squadron’s Search and Rescue K-9 program, which began in 2018. Its purpose is increase the capabilities of disaster response teams, which in turn, could speed up recovery efforts.
Crews aim to avoid roadblocks similar to those they encountered while assisting in Haiti following an earthquake in 2010. Team members spent days digging through rock and rubble in order to ensure no survivors were trapped underneath. When FEMA eventually arrived, they brought a dog to the pile and were able to clear the scene in minutes, according to KYANG. The team lost critical time they believed could’ve been used helping others.
Callie spends the majority of her time with Master Sgt. Rudy Parsons, a pararescueman with the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron.
The 123rd SAR K-9 program was funded by the Air National Guard innovation program, which helps Airmen make positive, meaningful change and drive a culture shift toward innovation, according to KYANG.