Photo gallery: Dogs in the midst of disaster

See the disaster through the eyes of search-and-rescue canines, veterinarians and Massachusetts Task Force 1.
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Dec 19, 2012
By dvm360.com staff

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Search-and-rescue canine Phedra takes a moment to rest her paws with handler Theresa Cawood. “One of the FEMA folks put it best. She said, ‘The Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) dogs are the PhDs of the dog world,’” says Janet Merrill, DVM, one of the five volunteer dog handlers for Massachusetts Urban Search and Rescue Task Force (MA-TF1).

All photos courtesy of Massachusetts Task Force

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“We targeted homes that were one story because the water was chest deep in some places. You could see water lines on many of the houses,” Merrill says.

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The highly trained search-and-rescue dogs went over, under and through spaces where humans simply couldn’t go. Merrill says it takes very special dogs to do this kind of work—they have to be tremendous athletes but they also have to have tremendous courage.

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This car in Far Rockaway, N.Y., didn't stand a chance against the power of Superstorm Sandy.

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Merrill says the search-and-rescue canines ventured into dangerous, unstable areas that would be scary for most dogs—not to mention people.

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Superstorm Sandy tossed vehicles like toys on Staten Island.

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Search-and-rescue canine Peewee drinks some water with handler Jonathan Talin to stay hydrated for their next mission.

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Debris from the Superstorm filled this minivan in Broad Channel, N.Y.

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Search-and-rescue canine Koda takes a well-deserved rest during the team's Superstorm Sandy deployment.

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"Houses looked like fallen Pick-Up Sticks—that’s the best way I can describe it," Merrill says.