Search & Rescue: Wolverine K-9

Written in 2003 by Leta Brownell, Commander Wolverine K-9 SAR Rockford, MI.

I am the proud companion & friend of three very special German Shepherd dogs. I am also commander of Wolverine K-9 Search & Rescue located in Western Michigan. Our purpose is to find lost and missing persons from a small child to the elderly. We are on call 24/7 and go to work at a moments notice, even though we all all regular jobs.

Photo of Mirage, Dakri & Luxor (left to right).

SAR dogsI will first let you know about my very special partner & friend, Mirage who is almost 6 years old. Mirage and I are a team where work together to find the lost or missing. It is truly amazing what a German Shepherd dog can do as a working dog. They not only can ground, air scent, but they do recovery work as well. They work on land and water. Their thinking ability is uncanny, and their thought process & indications by their body language speak to their handlers on which direction a person has gone or where they could be.

It is not my abilities that help to find the lost or missing, but my partner's.

If you have ever seen a hunting dog whine & cry when a hunter puts on their hunting jacket? The same is true for a search & rescue dog.

Mirage whines, crys, sticks to my hip like glue, and literally jumps in his crate in the back of my vehicle before I even tell him and then smiles at me, as if to say Mom, I know we are going on a search & I'm ready!

Mirage is my partner and I have complete faith & trust in him. His only limitations are his handler.

He doesn't works for money, power , fame, but merely for a red ball that squishes as he chews on it, when he finds an article or a victim. Afterwards he also enjoys a fun game of retrieve the red ball, which he dearly loves to play with his Mom.

How many people do you know would go through thorn bushes, marshes with muck up to his knees, deep woods so thick it nearly impossible to penetrate, heavy cattails well above my head that he cannot see where is going , works in both the cold & heat but never complains, tracks long distances merely for a red ball & friendly game of fetch? Sorry, don't really know anyone who would put their bodies through that stuff for a red ball.

Mirage has his CGC, which all of our search & rescue dogs have. He is a large, tall shepherd, weighing 95 lbs but gentle to humans, as they are his friends and he knows it. Mirage also lives inside our house, a big part of our family,sleeps on a water bed and enjoys daily activies such as ball or playing with a log (not stick), Yes, he grabs huge logs out of the woods and plays with them. I am extremely proud to call him my friend and partner.

Luxor, my oldest shepherd, who is 9 years old, is truly my best friend. Loyalty is the first thought which comes to mind when I think of him. Any room in the house where I am in, he's there. Actually, while I type this, he is laying close to my computer chair. He comforts me when I'm sad, by placing his gentle head in my lap. He smiles at me when I'm happy, and comforts me, by laying close to me when I'm sick. He typically sleeps above head on my pillow (never once has stepped on me), is kind and gentle to not only me, but my grandchildren ages 4 & 9 mos. My granddaughter lays on him, plays ball with him,even digs a ball out of his teeth, and they are smitten. He has never once knocked any of the kids down and is extremely careful of them.

Luxor too is a large German Shepherd dog - pure 96 pounds of love. The amazing thing about Luxor is as a puppy he was extremely fearful of children. Our kids were over the age of 16 but the kids next door threw rocks at him when he was outside in his kennel. He would growl and bark at children as his only experience with children was negative.

My granddaughter, truly showed him by the time she was a year old, that children are not to be feared. Believe it or not, he is now the gentlest dog (even more so than my grandchildren's dogs at home). He plays with the children and loves them dearly . But the thing is, a child must be properly taught to be gentle and kind, don't step on them, and they soon will find out the friendship and bond of a German Shepherd is fair superior to any dog I have ever seen or associated with. These dogs are not vicious, but their environment can be. That is the difference. Treated with love and kindness, you receive & reap the benefits 10 fold of having known love of a best friend.

Lastly, I will talk about my sweet Dakri, who is 8 years old. She is Mirage's mother. After Mirage was born she was diagnosed with hip dysplicia, allergies, and a thyroid problem. We love her just the same and so blessed she brought only a 1 puppy litter into our lives. Dakri is sweet, gentle, loves children and loves to sleep on the water bed with her human companions. Yes, all three dogs sleep with my husband and I in a king sized water bed.

We have been truly blessed to have these wonderful friends a part of our lives. German Shepherd dogs in my opinion, if treated with friendship & kindness, you'll never find a better friend. As a working dog, I cannot even begin to express their capabilities and love for doing the work.

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