The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘search and rescue dogs’

Downton Kenora 5: I Try Out a New Job

I got to be a search and rescue dog Monday!

It was first thing in the morning. Elizabeth was busy mopping The Foyer floor (unlike Downton Abbey, there are no servants here) when two very official looking male two-leggers came in. One was in a police uniform, the other was not. They had come to search the building for the missing two-legger girl. They asked Bonnie and Elizabeth a bunch of questions first, then Elizabeth took them on a tour of the building. They went room by room through the retail area, then up into the upper rooms and attics. Remember the room Elizabeth is making into a studio? Well, there is another bigger attic behind that one, which raised a bit of a problem.

Remember this photo? See the door way behind me? Yep. That's where the policemen wanted to go.

Remember this photo? See the door way behind me? That’s where the policemen wanted to go.

Elizabeth apologised. “You’re welcome to go in there, of course, but I’m going to have to clear away all that stuff in front of the door so you can get in.”

And then, an amazing thing happened.

“Would you like us to help you with that?”

And so, the policemen helped Elizabeth move all the chairs that had to go to the goodwill shop in Winnipeg with Bonnie this week, and a card displayer that Elizabeth wants to use downstairs. They pulled back a couple of big folded tables and lifted some heavy boxes of books to another spot where Elizabeth could work on them.

I heard all this going on above me (I was in the Tin Room, which I will show you later) and decided I’d better see what on earth was going on up there. When I got upstairs… Well! Is that another room I’ve never seen before? So, I marched right past those policemen and checked it out to make sure it was safe for two-leggers before anyone went in. I told them there was no one there, but they decided to look for themselves. I didn’t take it personally. This was my first try at search and rescue, so they should make sure I’m doing it right.

Once the policemen had checked the attics, they went up to the Upper Room and scouted it out thoroughly. Delaine wasn’t anywhere to be found, of course.

We then went down into the bowels of the building. Someday I’ll show you that area too. It’s old and cold and dark and the ceiling is held up by tree trunks. There are several rooms down there, including a Coal Room. But the police came back up empty handed.

Then Elizabeth left me in the shop, and the three of them went up to the apartments upstairs. The men looked everywhere up there, too. I could hear them through the ceiling. They even checked the closets. Delaine wasn’t there, either.

I don’t think the police expected her to be in our building. They have a list and are checking all the buildings downtown. But it was strange being subjected to a search like that. Elizabeth says they’ve never done that in the many years she’s been working downtown. The search is on everyone’s mind and everywhere you go in town two-leggers are talking about it. Police specialists are here from all over the province helping to find the two-legger girl.

They’ve started searching for her in the nearest city, too. Winnipeg is 200 km west of us, but the Copenaces have family there. Delaine hasn’t turned up in Winnipeg, either, though. No one knows where she is. I hope they find her soon. I hope she’s okay.

Tail Thumper of the Week #18

I’m going to cheat a bit this week. Instead of telling you about a dog book, I’m going to let you know about a mystery novel that Elizabeth just read, No Mark Upon Her. It’s by one of Elizabeth’s favourite mystery writers, Deborah Crombie, a volume in her Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid Scotland Yard series.

Click here to buy the book. Elizabeth will donate my commission to It's a Dog's Life!

Click the pic to buy the book. Elizabeth will donate my commission to It’s a Dog’s Life!

Gemma and Duncan have dogs, but they are usually on the fringe of the main story. No Mark Upon Her is a bit different from the others from my point of view, however. In this book, a police detective, who is also a contender in Olympic rowing for England at the 2012 games in London, is found dead in the Thames after a workout one evening.

What makes this book different from Crombie’s others? It isn’t the police who find the missing rower. Oh, no. It’s a couple of search and rescue dogs, Tosh and Finn, that sniff her out! Their finding her body allows the police to examine it and determine that she didn’t have an accident: she was murdered! So, without Tosh and Finn, there wouldn’t even be a story.

And those two dogs? Well they keep their grip on the plot as they would their teeth on an old bone. Finn in particular, a Labrador Retriever like my best pal Bud (only Finn is black), plays a dramatic role throughout the story, saving his master from a dangerous killer on more than one occasion. And that’s exactly as it should be when there are dangerous killers lurking!

However, it would have made for a much shorter story if Finn’s handler, also a rower, name of Kieran, would have just paid attention to Finn from the start. Dogs always notice a lot more than their two-leggers realise. And this failure to fully understand what his dog desperately tries to communicate to him adds a lot of drama to the story. But two-leggers seem to like that sort of thing. I just think it’s stressful.

I’m still trying to figure out why this sort of aberrant human behaviour is so popular among two-leggers who read books. Elizabeth just eats mysteries up like they’re bacon and cheese cookies! And she really enjoyed this one. I could tell.

So if you like mystery stories, particularly if you like English police procedurals, Elizabeth says, with dogs in them, I say, then, by golly, you’d better latch onto this one while she still has it in stock. And if you buy it here, you know that I’ll give my commission to help my homeless dog friends at It’s a Dog’s Life, Kenora’s dog fostering network.

Tail Thumper of the Week #8

Today’s book is part of a mystery series. Elizabeth really likes to read mysteries, and she showed me this one because one of the main characters in it is a big mixed breed dog named Samson.

Samson, just like some particular ‘purebred’ dogs, has a gift. He’s really good at finding people. His two-legger Bree gives him something that belongs to a missing two-legger, and Samson smells it so he knows who he’s looking for. Dog’s don’t see pictures so well. We work better with our noses. Off Samson races in search of the missing two-legger, who is often in danger.

Samson is also very good to have around in dangerous situations because he is big and strong and fast and a good guard dog. Lots of us mixed breed dogs are like that – we can multi-task because we have so many qualities built into us. It’s a bonus God gave us over ‘purebred’ specialities, perhaps. Apparently, judging by the number of books about purebreds compared to those I’ve found about ‘mutts’, we need all the little advantages we get!

At last! A book with a mixed breed co-protagonist! That’s a big word… ~;ob=

Of course, the book isn’t just about Samson, but since I’m a dog, and this is a fund-raiser for homeless, mostly mixed breed dogs – although the two-leggers at It’s a Dog’s Life are not snobs and they love ‘purebred’ dogs just as much as any other dogs that are in trouble. It’s just that they seem to find a lot more mixed breed dogs than ‘purebred’ ones in need of help. Er – where was I…. Oh, yeah… Since this blog is more about dogs, I’m focusing on the dog element of the books I tell you about.

Elizabeth has actually read this book and others in the series, and she says it’s really good. She says, too, that it is a nice book for people who like an old-fashioned sort of mystery story without a lot of violence, swearing and other material that some two-leggers find offensive written into it. It’s just a good story about a female two-legger who loves dogs and needs their help to solve some deadly serious problems she keeps getting into (Samson, I’m sure, does his best to keep two-leggers safe, but you know how two-leggers are…).

I think you’ll like this book. If you’re interested in buying it to support my hard-working heroes at It’s a Dog’s Life help Kenora’s dogs in jeopardy, please click the picture and buy it at Elizabeth’s web site. She’ll make sure my 20% commission gets to my friends!

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