A Profound Experience Filming Dog Handling

Filming Dog Handling

I just returned from Seattle to film humane methods in dog capture and handling to train disaster responders.  My colleagues were former students, Shawndra Michell, who specializes in film making and Linda McCoy, who runs Happy Hounds Hotel in Sammamish, WA.  Linda’s hotel specializes in large dogs and can offer special care for dogs needing socializing.  Shawndra and Linda, like myself, volunteered rescuing dogs after Hurricane Katrina and they are members of the Washington State Animal Response Team (WASART).  After taking my course in Olympia, they were inspired to get my training on video and gathered camera equipment, dogs, and volunteers to film at Linda’s hotel.

Volunteers brought dogs who were typically large and fearful, many were pitbulls, and most of them were rescued animals being socialized. The owners were willing to share their four legged family members because they knew that through this filming their dogs would help dogs all around the world.  They also knew that this was a fresh approach in humane dog handling. Continue reading

Have You Rescued Dogs in the Wake of A Disaster?

Setting box trap in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans

Have you captured or gathered dogs in a disaster response? I would like to hear from you. I made three trips to Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina at the request of the Humane Society of the US and have great respect for those who respond to disaster situations.

I remember working in the city of New Orleans as the waters receded.  You could look down the flat neighborhood streets still under water with empty houses as far as you can see.    As the sun set we were leaving the city,  a few scattered lights from generators lit a window or two throughout the tall complex of the downtown area.  And during the whole time there was a sweet stench from the water which contained everything under the kitchen sink and more.

Training Boxtrapping During Disaster Response

Most of the local people I proudly worked with had lost their homes.  It was remarkable they were even there.  And they worked so exhausted that their short nights rest could not soothe them.  We did not know when the next meal would be – dependent and grateful for the styrofoam boxed food from Red Cross.

These are extremely challenging conditions for the people rescuing dogs.  Exhausted, they often place themselves in threatening situations handling defensive dogs they typically would not handle.

One of the purposes of my blog and website is to provide practical, effective, and safe methods and equipment for the disaster responder. Hopefully as a result of this information more animals will be rescued, fewer rescuers will be bitten, and the experience will be better for everyone.

Disaster responders:  What dogs have been dangerous or difficult for you to capture and rescue?  What situations have you been in that were challenging for you to catch dogs?  We would like to hear your stories and needs.

Mark