Pearl: The Search & Rescue Dog Who Traveled The US
A little enthusiasm can take you far—in the case of Pearl the black lab, all the way from a California pound to Haiti.
At the animal shelter, a group that trains seeing-eye dogs saw promise in her. Then they got to know her.
“Halfway through testing her, the rescue said, ‘This dog is way too hyper,’” said Pearl’s owner and handler, Los Angeles firefighter Captain Ron Horetski.
That was music to the ears of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, since search and rescue missions require round-the-clock work and a “Wait, I’m just getting going!” attitude. (Watch a video of working dogs.)
After arduous training, the pair was deployed in 2010 to earthquake-stricken Haiti as part of the first ever international canine search and rescue team. The pair also traveled to Japan after the 2011 tsunami.
When at home, Pearl accompanies her owner 24/7, as part of the program’s guidelines, but “she’s a work dog, so she’s not on my lap watching TV at night,” said Horetski.
“And we don’t go to the dog run to play, because she needs to be ready and have the energy for an emergency. But she’s so much more than a pet to me. She’s my partner.”
Pearl, a Labrador retriever who lived in a shelter, is a search-and-rescue dog who helps after natural and man-made disasters. (NatGeo)