27
Oct

9 News

Tails are wagging, thanks to volunteers Luke and Tracy Edwards.

Their 1000km walk with their dogs from Victoria to Canberra back in 2012 to raise awareness of the importance of skilled volunteer search and rescue dog teams has reaped benefits.

Returning to Canberra on Wednesday, the couple, along with their dog Beathan, will now see the creation of a national search and rescue dog organisation, unifying state and territory volunteers under the one banner.

It means national standardised training and accreditation for volunteers and their dogs and an online forum for trainers.

As one of only five civilian search and rescue dog teams, Tracy and Luke say they hope the new framework will inspire more accredited dog trainers and help increase the number of dogs that can be deployed for emergency situations.

The Black Saturday bushfires, Queensland cyclones and the Japanese and New Zealand earthquakes all received help from volunteer Australian search and rescue dogs but more can be done to boost their use, Ms Edwards said.

“Internationally they’re used all the time, especially through volunteer organisations but there is limited exposure here in Australia,” she said.

It takes a minimum of two years to train a search and rescue dog but considering their almost faultless tracking ability, it’s a worthwhile investment.

“Search dog organisations, like so many of our emergency service workers, can be called on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, all at no cost,” he said.

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