WEST FARGO, N.D. (Oct. 28, 2021) – Bobcat Company (Bobcat) announced today a new partnership with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF), a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening disaster response in America by training highly skilled canine and handler search teams. The partnership spotlights SDF’s National Training Center in Santa Paula, California, where shelter dogs are trained to become rescue dogs through simulated rubble piles and mock disaster sites.
Founded in 1996, SDF has trained 180 certified first responder and canine teams that have deployed to 216 disasters and missing person searches. Through this partnership, Bobcat equipment is used to create and maintain realistic onsite training environments at the 125-acre National Training Center, which is designed to simulate conditions in various types of natural and manmade disasters.
“We are excited to partner with the Search Dog Foundation and help support their mission to provide search and rescue training for dogs and their handlers,” said Laura Ness Owens, vice president of marketing, communication and public affairs at Doosan Bobcat North America. “The Search Dog Foundation empowers lifesaving work that truly matters to all of us. Bobcat is honored to support these heroic first responders, who act with courage, determination and toughness.”
At SDF’s National Training Center, dogs must learn to crawl through tunnels, maneuver on ladders, navigate unstable surfaces and detect human scent beneath debris. A Bobcat T750 compact track loader, Bobcat E35 excavator and a variety of Bobcat attachments are used for brush clearing, trenching, road maintenance, moving rubble to create new training courses and learning opportunities, and to modify existing courses for the dogs and their handlers.
“This important partnership with Bobcat enables us to train the next generation of search teams by constructing realistic environments and more challenging training scenarios at our campus,” said SDF’s Senior Director of Communications and Handler Operations Denise Sanders. “Bobcat’s support is helping our teams reach the highest skill levels needed for certification and maintain deployment readiness.”
Over the past 25 years, SDF and its dogs and handlers have worked to save lives in hundreds of disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey and Irma, the Oklahoma City bombing, California mudslides, the World Trade Center attacks and earthquakes in Nepal, Haiti and Japan.
Media Resources: Please click this Dropbox link to download photos and video of National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s California training center, which includes scenes of rescue dogs and their handlers in action and the use of Bobcat equipment to construct training sites.
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About Bobcat Company
Bobcat Company is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and distribution of compact equipment. Headquartered in West Fargo, North Dakota, Bobcat offers a complete line of compact equipment including: skid-steer, mini track and compact track loaders; excavators; VersaHANDLER® telescopic tool carriers; utility vehicles; Toolcat™ utility work machines; compact tractors; small articulated loaders; zero-turn mowers; attachments and implements. As a global brand with a worldwide network of dealers and distributors, Bobcat is the industry’s original innovator, beginning in 1958 with the first compact machine and predecessor to the skid-steer loader. Bobcat continues to lead the industry by offering quality product solutions and technologies to empower people to accomplish more. For more information, visit Bobcat.com.
About National Disaster Search Dog Foundation
Founded in 1996, Search Dog Foundation (SDF) is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization based in Santa Paula, CA. Its mission is to strengthen disaster response in America by rescuing and recruiting dogs and partnering them with first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. SDF pledges to support each of these teams through training and medical coverage for the entire life of each canine, all provided at no cost to their task forces and departments. The organization was founded by Wilma Melville, a retired schoolteacher who was deployed to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 with her FEMA-certified search dog, Murphy. Returning from the deployment, she was determined to do something about America's severe shortage of canine disaster search teams and created SDF to address this problem. Since then, SDF has recruited hundreds of rescued dogs, and trained 180 certified search teams that have deployed to over 200 disasters and missing person searches.