For many people, avalanches are something many will never have to come into contact with. For those that live on the slopes or by mountains that receive heavy snowfalls, they are a real threat.
Luckily, there are those unsung heroes that set out to save lives all while treating it as fun and games. Recently, dogs have become a saving grace for many, especially in times of snowfall. Certain breeds are found at ski resorts and very much needed in the dead of winter.
Since December 18, there have been 33 people killed by avalanches, and that the deaths this season are on schedule to exceed the usual record in the previous years. For example, from 2007 to 2008 there were 36 reported deaths, and over the past 10 years, only 27 people have died each year from avalanches.
Now, dogs are sought out in order to search the snow and find those who are trapped underneath. Breeds such as hounds and labradors are ideal for searching, because of their heightened senses.
An organization called the Jacksonhole Search Dogs is a group of volunteers that train handlers who will then train dogs to search and assist in rescue missions year-round. These volunteers also train those to search for evidence, lost objects, and cadaver searches.
It’s been proven that dogs are the best option for when an avalanche strikes because they have a high prey drive and can perform tasks with little motivation. Without the help of our furry friends in the winter, some might not be as lucky and they have been.