Bobcat Company, Fargo, North Dakota, announced a new partnership with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening disaster response in America by training highly skilled canine and handler search teams. The partnership spotlights SDF’s National Training Center in Santa Paula, California, where shelter dogs are trained to become rescue dogs through simulated rubble piles and mock disaster sites.
Founded in 1996, SDF has trained 180 certified first responder and canine teams that have deployed to 216 disasters and missing person searches. Through this partnership, Bobcat equipment is used to create and maintain realistic onsite training environments at the 125-acre National Training Center, which is designed to simulate conditions in various types of natural and manmade disasters.
“We are excited to partner with the Search Dog Foundation and help support their mission to provide search and rescue training for dogs and their handlers,” says Laura Ness Owens, vice president of marketing, communication and public affairs at Doosan Bobcat North America. “The Search Dog Foundation empowers lifesaving work that truly matters to all of us. Bobcat is honored to support these heroic first responders, who act with courage, determination and toughness.”
At SDF’s National Training Center, dogs must learn to crawl through tunnels, maneuver on ladders, navigate unstable surfaces and detect human scent beneath debris. A Bobcat T750 compact track loader, Bobcat E35 excavator and a variety of Bobcat attachments are used for brush clearing, trenching, road maintenance, moving rubble to create new training courses and learning opportunities and to modify existing courses for the dogs and their handlers.
“This important partnership with Bobcat enables us to train the next generation of search teams by constructing realistic environments and more challenging training scenarios at our campus,” says Denise Sanders, SDF’s senior director of communications and handler operations. “Bobcat’s support is helping our teams reach the highest skill levels needed for certification and maintain deployment readiness.”
Over the past 25 years, SDF and its dogs and handlers have worked to save lives in hundreds of disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey and Irma, the Oklahoma City bombing, California mudslides, the World Trade Center attacks and earthquakes in Nepal, Haiti and Japan.