Disaster Search Dog Foundation Launches ‘Everything’s Going to the Dogs’

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ — The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (NDSDF), the nation’s leading canine disaster search training organization, announced today a new program”Everything’s Going to the Dogs,” aimed at involving schoolchildren in the foundation’s mission — to rescue dogs and turn them into rescuers. NDSDF is the only organization in the country that rescues dogs, trains them in disaster search and pairs them with firefighter handlers at no cost to the firefighter.

The program will offer a unique perspective on disasters that children can relate to, specifically the role of search dogs in disaster situations.”Everything’s Going to the Dogs” includes an information guide for teachers to access learning materials, lesson plans and other resources that provide learning explorations otherwise not typically found in a classroom setting.Specific issues include dealing with grief, expressing compassion,responsibility for animals, empowerment, fundraising and teamwork lessons.

After the events of 9/11, during which one third of all dogs deployed to Ground Zero were NDSDF trained, the organization was overwhelmed with requests from more than 80 schools nationwide and one in Great Britain, asking how they could participate and learn more about the heroic dogs.

Gail Burneyko, a sixth-grade school teacher at the Memorial School in Union Beach, New Jersey, located directly across the bay from the World Trade Center, involved her students with the NDSDF after the kids unanimously voted that they wanted to help the dogs who were searching for people in the rubble at Ground Zero. The kids designed and created commemorative pins and donated the proceeds to the NDSDF.

“My students really related to the dogs they saw on the news each night and wanted to reach out to help them,” said Burneyko. “In doing so, the students learned teamwork and had a way in which to channel their grief. The project was so successful that we’ve decided to make it an annual fundraiser. “While in New York for the 9/11 anniversary tributes, City of Murrieta (Calif.) fire engineer, John Thomas and disaster search dog, Mocha, will be personally thanking the participating students during a visit to the Memorial School on Sept. 10, 2002.

“Based upon the enormous amount of requests from so many schools aroundthe country, we’ve decided to create an educational resource program to assistthe teachers and students,” said Wilma Melville, NDSDF’S founder and executivedirector. “We are thrilled to be able to provide a vehicle by which childrencan learn a great deal of life’s lessons and in turn raise awareness of ourcause.”

According to FEMA, only one third of the minimum 300 advanced certifiedcanine search teams that are needed in this country exist. The NDSDF hasresponded to this urgent need by expanding their program to train 20 dogs thisyear as compared to three or four dogs in years past. The NDSDF has trained61 percent of the advanced disaster search dogs in California and 31 percentnationwide.

Teachers interested in learning more about the “Everything’s Going to theDogs” program can contact NDSDF development coordinator, Fran Christiansen at(805) 646-1015, or visit www.SearchDogsUSA.com.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (NDSDF), a non-profitorganization, is the nation’s leader in the field of canine disaster searchtraining. Founded in 1995 in response to the Oklahoma City bombing, theFoundation rescues dogs and turns them into rescuers to search for livevictims of natural and man-made disasters. The NDSDF is the only organizationin the country that provides firefighters with professionally-trained disastersearch dogs at no cost to the firefighter.

SOURCE The National Disaster Search Dog FoundationWeb Site: www.searchdogsusa.com


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