The count down is on for The Western Cadaver Dog Association's silent auction and WestJet ticket raffle fundraiser.
The Western Cadaver Dog Association is a non-profit society dedicated to providing highly trained canine human remains detection teams in order to assist authorities and the public. More often than not, the association is called on to assist with rescuing drowning victims.
A K9 handler explained the dogs are able to narrow down an area for a sonar team to locate the victim and then for the dive team to go in because diving is inherently dangerous, because most lakes have a severe lack of visibility for the divers.
"The dogs are highly trained, they certify on an annual basis for human remains detection through the North American Police Work Dog Association and then we have a husband-wife team of Richard and Kayla and they provide the sonar and mapping as well."
The dogs train locally and do a lot of their training in different locations in or around Strathmore.
"Global Training Centre has been awesome, Grays has always given us training locations, same with the Strathmore Ag Society and then local farmers Alan Dougan. I've been training on his location since probably 2011."
The handler says that they are always looking for more training locations, "specifically looking for buildings and vehicles, rubble buildings, water and buried as well, so if anybody has any training locations available, fields, ponds, anything like that, if they want to, we're on Facebook and on Instagram."
Oakley is currently the only certified dog and the only dog on the team that the association has at the moment. "We started with Java and we were initially formed to help drowning victims and the family was actually appalled that most of the expenses can directly from the handler. So they wanted to help with that service and the service of other victims. That's why we specialize mostly in drowning victims, but we are available for for other calls as well."
The K9 handler explained that there is a succession plan in place for another K9 at least and the reason why they don't have numerous dogs on their team is that it's very expensive to do the training.
"It also takes a special dog that that wants to do the job and has the capabilities and also just the dedication from the handler as well. There is a lot of hard work and dedication and a financial strain."
With the WestJet raffle the association is hoping to raise $10,000 or more and with the silent auction they are hoping to raise $3000. The fundraiser is on May 26 at Origin Brewery, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and is free to attend.
The K9 handler and the association would like to thank everyone that has help get the Western Cadaver Dog Association to where it is today. "I would like to thank The Western Cadaver Dog Association team and our family members because we can't do it without the support from our family and from our community."
Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org