Scent Dog News - March 2018 Search & Rescue Dog Association of Alberta

Twang - photo credit - Meighan Jones


New Members -

Chelsea, Field Tech in Training, Champion, AB

Lucy and GSD Molly

Jennifer and Malinois Tango of Spruce Grove, AB

Dwight and Golden Retriever Charlie, Edmonton, AB

Jenna, Ivy and Michelle visited Hon. Marlin Schmidt's constituency office February 2, 2018

Michelle, Jenna, Ivy and Hon. Schmidt

River City Preschool SAR Presentation– Jenna

During the community helpers unit at River City Preschool, some of the SAR dogs and handlers went to talk a little bit about what we do. With the help of Che and Dave, Lisa and Zane, Mark and Shado, and Meighan, Jenna and Ivy got to teach the kids about the amazing things our dogs can do and what to do if they ever get lost themselves. The kids, teachers and parents were fascinated by and grateful for what we do and the SAR dogs appreciated all the love and pets they received from the kids!!

Jenna, Ivy and Mark, Shado greet children!
Mark and Shado with kids.

Member News -

Congratulations to Don from Red Deer on moving to Active Field Tech.

Elisa and PaCe on successfully completing their Supporting Associate testing! Congratulations!

Alberta Emergency Services Medal presentation - November 2017

Michelle Limoges was presented with her 22-year Alberta Emergency Services medal at our November quarterly meeting by Mike Cook, SAR Liaison, Office of the Fire Commissioner. Michelle joined SARDAA in 1989 as a founding member.

Maryann Warren was also presented with her 22-year Alberta Emergency Services medal. Mary Ann joined SARDAA in 1994 and has been our training Director for almost 20 years!

Maryann receiving her Medal from Mike Cook.

Tongue-in-Cheek Handler Tips -

* Sh__t flows down the leash.
* Dogs have the nose; handlers have the brains.
* Good dog; handler needs work.
* Trust your dog! Your TRAINED AND PROOFED dog, that is!!!!

2017 Statistics generated by SARDAA members, from the D4H database -

  • 11,269 hours projects out at $35/hour to - $349,415.00
  • 11,269 hours = 10% of total SAR hours province-wide
  • $50,000 – estimated cost of training and maintaining a SAR dog to age 10; does not include the cost of training hours or travel to training…

Cabela's Hometown Heroes Event - Feb. 24

Lisa's Zane posing at Cabela's!

18th Annual "Burger Night" Fundraiser

"Burger Night" was held March 23 at Canadian Brewhouse on Ellerslie Road. It was a very, very busy evening for the eatery and many, many SARDAA members, friends and relatives attended. Many thanks to everyone who participated; it was a profitable evening for our organization thanks to all of you!!!

Norquest College/SAR AB Media Event

Ivy and Jenna did a stellar demonstration of human remains detection at the Norquest College/SAR AB media event April 5. Ivy searched for a scent source that was under the short pole in the centre of the above photo - she did her perfect 'trained alert' of course!
Our dogs all lined up outside the lunch room after the media event (sorry we missed Shado); see more below...
We can be very proud of our dogs quietly lying outside the glass watching us munch on sandwiches. (See the reflection!) This why we practice down-stays with distractions, namely Jenna with veggies!

Keep Pot Away from Pets

This article originally appeared in VET TOPICS Winter 2018 a publication of Western College of Veterinary Medicine

Marijuana plant.
sleepy puppy photo....

Sleepiness, lethargy, a ‘drunken’ stupor – these signs are no laughing matter when it comes to marijuana and your pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested marijuana, whether in the form of an ‘edible’ or the plant itself, it’s important to be upfront with your veterinarian about what happened. This will allow them to avoid more extensive – and expensive – tests and treatments that are unnecessary once they know what’s causing the clinical signs. “Disclosing means less money is spent… and the appropriate care can be given,” says Dr. Kevin Cosford, a board-certified specialist in small animal internal medicine at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). According to the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association, the organization that regulates the province’s veterinarians, a client telling their veterinarian a pet has been poisoned by marijuana would not be sufficient reason to report the client to the police. “Our goal is to take care of the pet,” says Cosford. It’s also important to disclose what happened because the signs of marijuana toxicity can mimic other conditions, such as when a pet ingests antifreeze (ethylene glycol). Both issues cause the pet to appear drunk, stumbling and uncoordinated. “We need to know the difference because they are treated very differently,” says Cosford. As the Canadian government moves toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use and human doctors prescribe it for medicinal use, veterinarians are seeing an upswing in marijuana-related cases. “I would say that we probably see one to two suspected cases a week here now; whereas before it was kind of a rarity. It was, ‘oh, the dog got into the marijuana’, and everybody came to see what a dog that consumed marijuana looked like. Now we see them all the time. It has become common,” says Cosford. Cosford says dogs are most often affected because they’re drawn to edibles that include the main psychoactive component in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannnabinol (THC). “Dogs are notorious for getting into things, but it’s exacerbated by the fact that some of these medical marijuana products are put into butter-type preparations.” Cosford points to a paper based on research conducted by scientists in Colorado, where the frequency of marijuana toxicosis in dogs at two veterinary hospitals increased four times over five years following the legalization of recreational marijuana use in the state. Other research indicates that dogs have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in their brains, which would make them more susceptible than humans to the drug’s toxic effects. Treatment for toxicosis usually involves intensive care including intravenous fluids and continuous monitoring of the pet until clinical signs subside. If a pet is comatose, veterinarians will need to manage animal’s bladder and move the pet every couple of hours while waiting for the effect of the psychoactive resins to wear off. In extreme cases, marijuana toxicity can result in death but this is rare. Because THC levels very fro plant to plant, it’s impossible to determine how much THC is enough to cause harm. Cosford is interested in investigating the potential cost of the treatment of marijuana exposure and pets so regulators can understand the potential impact of new government legislation on animal health. Much of the current veterinary research surrounds marijuana toxicity in pets – scientists haven’t fully explored the potential for using marijuana to treat pets. Veterinarians aren’t legally allowed to prescribe marijuana under Health Canada regulations, and research into its use cannot be conducted at institutions like the University of Saskatchewan because marijuana is still classed as an illegal substance. However, Cosford believe there could be a future for marijuana in veterinary medicine. More research needs to be done before vets can start to treat pets with marijuana, whether it’s the THC or the non-psychoative component called cannabidiol (CBD) that’s been shown to have positive health outcomes in humans. “I can imagine in five years or 10 years, it will be very different. We’ll have more information,” he says.

Interesting study regarding dog training...


Lab most popular for the 27th year in a row!!!

By Randa Kriss, AKC March 28, 2018 (provided by American Kennel Club)

Ed.'s Note - there would have been Canadian statistics if they were available... hint CKC!

In the last 27 years, things have changed dramatically. Facebook launched, Apple took over the mobile world, the United States has gone through four different presidents, and the AKC launched agility, Scent Work, Trick Dog, and more. One thing, however, has remained the same. Since 1991, the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog in the nation, and with the statistics from 2017 in, the Lab continues his reign. The Ever-Popular Labrador Retriever - The Lab is friendly, active, and outgoing. His eager to please temperament is just one of many reasons why he takes top honors year after year. Labs also excel at dog sports (like dock diving, obedience, and agility), make fantastic K-9 partners, and are some of the most popular service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and therapy dogs. On top of all that, they’re also pretty adorable. “The Labrador Retriever has its paws firmly planted in Americans’ hearts,” says AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo. “It’s such a versatile and family friendly breed.” The Lab has been top dog since 1991, when it beat out the gentle, smart, and happy Cocker Spaniel. In addition to being the most popular dog in the nation, the Lab is also the #1 dog in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Raleigh, Seattle, and Washington D.C. Movers and Shakers - While the Labrador Retriever’s status hasn’t changed, however, the top 10 most popular list had a few switch-ups this year. The easygoing, playful, adaptable French Bulldog is steadily rising in popularity. The breed jumped two spots from number six to number four in 2017. In doing so, the Frenchie knocked the Beagle out of the top five for the first time since 1998. While the Frenchie is number four in the nation, he has taken the top spot in a few large cities throughout the country. The French Bulldog is the most popular dog in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and West Palm Beach. Another mover and shaker this year was the German Shorthaired Pointer. The GSP pushed its way into the top 10 in 2017, knocking out the Boxer, who had been in that group for the past four years. For a list of the most popular breeds in the USA, see -


In Memory of SAR-dog Jaida

May 2009 - March 2018

Following is a tribute Mike and Brenda did for SAR-Dog Jaida. It is a wonderful tribute to Jaida that SARDAA has received many donations from family and friends in her memory. These donations are to help fund the training and the work done by our members to assist the missing person. Many thanks!!!!!
Mike and Jaida - SARDAA photo shoot 2015 (Photo - Jim Dobie)

March 12, 2018, we lost our best friend and important family member, Jaida. She beat the odds of surviving and going into remission with an uncommon spinal infection – but recently her tough battle was lost and she now joins her fellow search dog team members Gotta and Hill in another “Search and Rescue Mission” on a universal scale. Jaida had quite the personality… when right from 3 weeks of age, blue eyes barely open; we met her for the first time in the whelping pen with her siblings. We were the first outside people she became socialized with, and true to her form she pushed by her timid siblings to climb up Mike’s leg (repeatedly) and show that she was not afraid.

Mike and baby girl!

On subsequent visits, she continued to barrel past the other pups to show us she would be the one coming home with us at 8 weeks of age. Jaida was not the typical puppy that Brenda envisioned – i.e. the kind that wants to be held, plus she was a heavy pup! She did not want to be cuddled or held at all (and proved it with some good nail scratches that first day). The first night in her new home, she howled all night long, but at that time she did let Brenda stroke her head to sleep. In her first few months, Jaida exerted her will (and teeth) on everything. The furniture still shows it, as do the scars on Brenda’s hands. From that time on, she showed both Brenda and Mike that she was here to play, work or sleep – none of this cuddling and lying around stuff. During the first week in her new home, she made it her job to do regular perimeter searches around the yard. Letting all the squirrels, cats and whatever else, know that she was on duty. Born in May 2009, and being a Taurus, she lived true to her sign. We often called her “little bull”, as she knew what she wanted and would often try to resist doing what was asked of her, wanting to do it her way. She fit into her registered name of Wakita’s FreeSpirit quite well. At 9 weeks of age, Jaida was already doing training for tracking and tested with the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Alberta (SARDAA). In one of the tests, Mary Ann (SARDAA trainer), had to hold Jaida still ….which took over 20 minutes until Jaida agreed to submit. From that moment on, Jaida was in training and a natural at tracking scent.

Baby Jaida

By the age of two, Jaida had earned her Canadian Kennel Club Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) title. These are not easy tests and are often done at the same trial where the police dogs compete. But to Jaida…no problem! For her this was more fun than anything else. In time, Mike learned to follow her lead and let her show him how it is done.

Mike, Jaida and CKC Tracking Judge, Greg Martin.
Jaida during water search training.

At 2 years of age, Jaida became active as a search dog with SARDAA. She lived for her Sunday training days and seeing her fellow search dogs. Jaida, always the social butterfly, had a special bond with Jake (the brown lab next to her left), and loved sharing her toys (and kisses) with him. She was also close to her senior, Gotta (far left), and Parquetta (far right) with whom she often travelled to do searches; they showed her how to get the job done.

SARDAA Active team dogs - 2015 (photo: Jim Dobie)

Jaida, always up for more work (which was fun for her), took on many search profiles. She was one of the few dogs in the province who was certified at searching for live person, human remains and in water. Additionally, she was involved in searches with Edmonton Police Service and found crucial evidence that helped charge criminals. Even after her first bout with illness, she came back months later to help with many searches, one of which she (and fellow search dog, Twang) were instrumental in the recovery efforts in Fort Chipewyan on the La Roche River. Jaida gave the big barks we were hoping for – meaning a strong alert. On top of her search work, Jaida loved going to visit seniors in long term care and meeting with children in schools.

Brenda and Jaida visiting in seniors' home.

She loved greeting the public and doing demonstrations at events and Emergency Management Days in the Park. Although the past couple of months affected Jaida’s physical ability to walk easily, she still wanted to work. Just this past Sunday, she insisted on coming with Mike to SARDAA training, even if it meant she had to sit and watch. Her SARDAA family meant the world to her, and for that we will be eternally grateful. It is easy to feel sad and angry about the course of events, but instead Jaida would want us all to live by her examples: • Live for now and what is right in front of you • Don’t sweat the small stuff that doesn’t really matter • Take time to get outside find joy in what is around us • Always be on your best game, even if your body feels sore • Play. Play in water, snow, rain… and find a great stick • Respect your elders and make time for them • Drink plenty of water, then reuse the bottle for play • Take time to sit on a park bench and watch the world go by • Eat your vegetables • Be kind and share your toys • And most of all…..cherish your family and friends.

Brenda and Mike with Jaida.

Jaida, we are so blessed to have had the time we did with you. You left the world a better place. We know you are with us in spirit and working on bigger missions now with your fellow search dogs that have gone before you. Until we meet again sweet girl. ... Brenda and Mike A.

Editors note – Scent Dog News is produced by the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Alberta. Submissions are welcome but are subject to editing and the editor’s approval. Editor – Michelle Limoges; Email – udcdoberman@shaw.ca

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