John Ross Ferrara / @ 4:32 p.m. / Animals, Emergencies

Stray Humboldt County Mutt Goes on to Become Disaster Search Dog; Assists With Recent Montecito Mudslide Rescue Efforts


About five years ago, a mixed Plott Hound puppy named “Java” was awaiting an uncertain future at the Humboldt County Animal Shelter in McKinleyville.

Today “Java” is traveling the country assisting with disaster relief efforts.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation , a nonprofit organization dedicated to recruiting rescue dogs to search for people buried alive in large-scale disasters, gave “Java” a shoutout on their Facebook page earlier this month.

“During a routine visit to this shelter to help save canine lives, staff from Bones Pet Rescue of Covelo, adopted Java in an attempt to find her a great home before her time was up,” the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation wrote on Facebook. “It was at Bones Pet Rescue that Java was discovered by SDF supporters Laura and Wayne Rathe and identified as a potential search and rescue candidate.”

After six months of search dog boot camp, “Java” was paired up with firefighter Eric Ingstad of the Lost Angeles Fire Department. 

Since then, the duo has reportedly responded to several major U.S. disasters, including Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and most recently the Montecito mud slides.


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