Feb.14 (NBD) -- With the help of search dog Lucky, the Chinese social rescue force, RamUnion Rescue team, has rescued 9 survivors after searching 178 collapsed buildings as of press time.
They first arrived on the scene of a devastating earthquake in Turkey on Feb.8. Lucky proved to be an invaluable asset during the rescue.
Team leader, Gao Zhijiang, praised Lucky for his performance, saying that it was a testament to his hard work during training, according to reports.
On the day Lucky found a sign of life in an adult man. Gao recalled that several other rescue teams with dogs were present, but none of them reacted. "When we went in, Lucky started barking to alert us that someone was there."
Gao explained that the advantage of using a search and rescue dog over a life detector is that the dog can react faster, "barking as soon as it smells something".
He added that the detector can be blocked by stones, but the dog can still smell something underneath. To let Lucky do his job properly, Gao usually uses a rope about 10 meters long to give him some freedom. He explained that if the handler is too close, it will interfere with the dog's work. The smell the dog can detect depends on the time the body has been buried. After the dog smells something, it will bark continuously until the handler comes to reward it.
"Lucky is like a silent comrade to me," Gao said. He feels warmth when Lucky is around, “not clinging to me when I'm not in a good mood, but playing with me when I'm happy."
At 61 years old, Gao has been retired for more than half a year, but he still keeps working out and trains regularly. He has been to disaster areas four or five times and believes that it is his duty to do search and rescue dog training and participate in rescue operations.