Not just an ordinary search and rescue dog training

In crises, search and rescue dogs are invaluable helpers. In Ukraine, the canine lifesavers are currently particularly called upon. They regularly search for people buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings. A team of four trainers from the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation travelled to Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian Civil Defence.

More and more often, civilian buildings and infrastructure in Ukraine are being damaged by attacks. Deploying search and rescue dogs is still considered one of the safest and fastest ways to find people under the rubble of collapsed structures. Rescue operations in the war zone confront search and rescue dog teams with particular challenges. The Ukrainian Civil Defence therefore approached the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation with a request for help.

Trainer team set to face challenge
"It was a complex undertaking with many safety precautions that had to be taken. However, for us it was clear that we would help the Ukrainian search and rescue dog teams," explains IRO President Alois Balog. For ten days, the trainers and mission specialists worked intensively with 30 search and rescue dog teams. The training was adapted to the individual needs of the handlers in order to provide the best possible assistance in a short time. Immediately after the training, the Ukrainian search and rescue dog teams were called out on a mission.

Humanitarian situation is devastating
The IRO Delegation first travelled by plane to Poland and then from there 800 kilometres by car to Romny in Eastern Ukraine. At the beginning of the war, the area was still occupied, but in the meantime the Russians have withdrawn. The drive through the country revealed the extent of the destruction. "The overall situation is devastating," Markus Bock describes the situation there. "Even big cities only have electricity for hours at a time. Kiev and Lviv are supplied with emergency generators," the experienced dog handler and IRO Spokesperson for Deployment reports further.

Watch the video for more insight.

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