Search and rescue dogs train for certification in Colbert County

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. — The sound of dogs barking filled the air in the White Oak community of Colbert County Friday morning.

The good boys and girls were putting their skills to the test, doing all they need to be certified search and rescue dogs.

Some of the handlers traveled from as far away as Louisiana to participate in the seminars.

Luke Howell serves with the Huntsville Search Dog Unit and participated with his family pet, Buster, for cadaver dog certification.

“He originally was picked up as a family dog,” Howell said. “I got him from the shelter and then decided to go on and try to see what he could do, and he’s turned out to like it and seems to be doing pretty well.”

Another seminar is for live-find exercises, like for situations where someone may be lost in the wilderness.

Not only was this the first seminar during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was also the first one ever in Colbert County.

Chief Corey Speegle with the Northwest Alabama K-9 Search and Rescue said being able to host the seminars here will help certify more search and rescue dogs locally.

“We’ve got a good thing going on working together with Colbert County EMA, the Colbert County commissioners’ office; it makes me feel really good we’re able to do this,” Speegle said.

Part of Friday’s training also included having the dogs present around a running helicopter, so they aren’t stressed during a real search and rescue mission.

It’s all part of making sure the K-9s are as prepared as possible because one day, your life could depend on them.

Seminars will continue on Saturday at the White Oak and Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Departments.

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