Submitted by National Disaster Search DogFoundation: TEAMS RETURN HOME AFTER AN EXHAUSTIVE SEARCH IN TEXAS
Photo: Sonic searching in Granbury Texas

Winds of up to 200 mph hammered the town of Granbury, TX last night, destroying everything in their path. After searching over a hundred homes, baseball fields, parks and debris piles this morning, SDF Search Teams Keri Grant & Tucker and Laurel Pitman & Sonic were demobilized and returned home for some well-deserved rest. We are deeply grateful to all the members of Texas Task Force 2 for their extraordinary service today in bringing help and hope to the Granbury community.

Twelve other tornadoes touched down in North Texas Wednesday night and meteorologists expect severe storms to continue in the Midwest through the weekend. Should other communities in “Tornado Alley” be hit by the devastating funnel clouds, our 17 SDF Search Teams based in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas stand ready to respond quickly to make sure no one is left behind in the wreckage.

Every time our teams deploy, they learn invaluable lessons they can use in future disasters and can share with other first responders to raise the level of disaster response in our country.

Laurel Pitman shared her thoughts after completing her and Sonic’s first-ever deployment:

“It was amazing to watch Sonic work on his first deployment. The first few houses we searched were intact and had very little damage. The smells in and around the houses were all new to him. The debris field in the neighborhood was a never-ending variety of items picked up by the winds and thrown about. It was all lying in the path for him to explore. After three or four houses were searched, he seemed to figure out that he had a big job ahead of him. He got into a pattern that did not stop for the next six hours. He systematically searched each address without hesitation. There were toys and food that would normally catch any dog’s attention, but he ignored it. He had a job to do.

Our three years of training as a team seemed to come together in one night. Some areas we saw mobile homes that had been twisted, shredded and deposited amongst trees. He searched piles of metal, wood and furniture that hours earlier was a home. He ran around concrete slabs with only floor tiles attached, that outlined what had been a kitchen. The destruction that was left in the neighborhood was an enormous task. He quickly cleared each area and would pull me to the next when he was done. He did not want a break, nor would he slow down. He searched through the night like a champ. I was very proud of his hard work and dedication.”