K-9 Rescue Team Trains in Cedar Rapids, Asks for Help

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

Search and Rescue dog Moses searches through rubble for the scent of a human during an exercise at the Iowa Task Force One's K9 training in Cedar Rapids on Saturday Aug. 20, 2011. The team worked during the 2008 floods and more recently traveled to Joplin, Mo. (David Scrivner/SourceMedia Group)

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By James Steward

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - They’re often known as the rambunctious puppy, but later called a hero. K-9 rescue teams feature dogs that are trained to find victims in disaster situations. Their efforts help save lives and how you can help the rescue team.

Meet Moses. He’s not your average family pet.

“They have high will, high drive, and high ability to overcome stress,” said Iowa Task Force One K-9 Team Coordinator Mitch Magill.

Moses is one of a half dozen dogs training with the Iowa Task Force One K-9 team.

“When you go on deployment, you know you’re working them to save someone’s life,” said K-9 handler Robin Habeger.

So that’s why Saturday’s training tested each dog’s ability to find what could be a real person trapped underneath rubble.

“The dogs will smell them, go and find them, bark and alert us to where the person is,” said Iowa Task force One K-9 Team Coordinator Mitch Magill.

The dogs and their handlers have been all over. Most recently Moses and other dogs were deployed to Joplin, Missouri.

“We ended up doing a couple of checks with him to make sure there wasn’t anybody in a location,” said Habeger.

Not just hours upon hours of training…

“It’s like having an additional part-time job. You spend that much time training with the dog,” said Habeger.

…but doing this cost money.

“Disaster work is one of the most equipment-intensive. Everything from boots, helmets, and gloves to use the materials you see behind for the disaster pile,” said Habeger.

Private donations to non-profit organization Disaster Dogs of Iowa helps to keep the search alive.
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