Mentor Library had a furry, friendly and well-trained visitor on Monday.
Rocky and his owner, Jeremiah Trench, of Big Creek Search Dog Team, spoke about service dogs and search dogs, in particular. (Well, Trench spoke; Rocky only barked on command.)
Here are seven fun facts that we learned from the Big Creek Search Dog Team.
- Dogs are built to be better smellers—and, hence, better trackers—than humans. The average human can identify about 1,000 different odors. Dogs can identify more than one million.
- That’s because dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose. By comparison, humans have only six million.
- Dogs have other advantages besides smelling when it comes to tracking or searching. They have a superior sense of hearing, can cover ground faster and fit into places that humans cannot.
- A dog’s nose is so acute that a trained K-9 can smell out drugs, chemicals (like for explosives), people (living or dead), bed bugs and more. Some dogs have even been trained to alert when their owners have low blood sugar or a seizure.
- The Big Creek Search Dog Team is comprised of 14 humans and 16 dogs, all of whom are volunteers. They pay for most of their dogs’ training and certification out of pocket. They also don’t charge a fee for their services
- The team has helped law enforcement, fire departments, park rangers and other agencies to help find missing persons. They’re available 24/7 with different volunteers offering their time depending upon whom is available.
- For a missing person or their family, what the Big Creek Search Dog Team does is a matter of life and death. However, for the K-9s, it’s a game.
“He does it for a toy,” Trench explained. “It’s all a big game for him.”