There is Honor in Hiding for the Canine Resource

By John Banuelos

As a hider, you are placed in an obscured and isolated location. A hider comes prepared for the duration of a hide with food, drink and weather appropriate clothing. Endless arrays of distant and familiar sounds, along with not-so-familiar sounds surround you. You acquiesce to the dependency that a dog and a searcher will find you.
 
Night prompts the notion that a hider’s location may truly be a secret place. There is only blackness and silence to keeps a hider company, punctuated by unfamiliar sounds. You hope for the familiar ring of the search dog’s bell.
 
As a hider, you experience what a lost subject would feel without the benefit of food, water or appropriate clothing. Team members Lisa McGraw and Danny Jaramillo have felt the lost subject experience often and sometimes in harsh conditions.
 
The Canine Resource wishes to thank both these members for their repeated contribution to the resource as hiders. Lisa and Danny have come out to hide in the worst of conditions and have endured long durations of isolation to help all six members of the Canine Resource.
 
When you see Lisa and Danny next, ask them about their experiences. Better yet, take the time to hide for our dogs. Gain a taste of what a lost subject feels, plus the exhilaration of being found.

The Origin of the Bloodhound on the Patch

By Myron Robb and Mike McMillan

The image of a bloodhound forms an important part of the Contra Costa County Search and Rescue Team’s shoulder patch. As Evan Hubbard wrote in the March 2010 issue of the Callout, an early revision to the patch (1979) added the bloodhound. Contra Costa SAR was the first search and rescue team in the state to use bloodhounds. Here’s how that came to be:In 1970, Myron and Judy Robb began raising bloodhounds in Walnut Creek, primarily as show dogs. In 1976, Judy, and friends Bev Mestressat and Lynn Hanson, were invited to give a working bloodhound demonstration to Contra Costa SAR. That demonstration was so effective, it led to the formation of the Sheriff’s Office bloodhound unit and by the end of the 1970s, the SAR team was organized into seven divisions: Bloodhound/Tracking, Communications, Equestrian, 4x4s, Medical, Support and Explorers.

The bloodhound unit’s third callout was for a high-profile case at the Lafayette Reservoir on Nov. 14, 1978, in which a 40-year-old female jogger went missing. Her car was found in the parking lot. Judy Robb and K9 Pita arrived at the search, but were unable to get a proper scent article, so Judy scented Pita off the woman’s car door handle.

After 20 minutes of trailing, the bloodhound led her to the woman’s body about 65 feet off the trail, concealed in heavy underbrush. Their excellent work on this case set the scene for a busy SAR career for Judy, Pita, and members of the CoCoSAR bloodhound unit and in 1982, Judy and Myron were named the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office volunteers of the year for their contributions.

From left to right: Lora Fults with Zack, Cindee Valentin with Annee, Carol McCoy Drolet with Tango, Eloise Anderson with Twist, Chris Boyer with Scout, Jenny Ward with Peaches, Carol Martin with Sammi, Joe Jacques with Hooter, Karen Mingus with Diablo, Ingela Tapper with Einstein, DeAnn McAllan with her dog, Bonnie Brown Cali with Aero, Candice Valentin with Tatum, and Carol O'Neil with Maggie. Kneeling in the center are Jacque Nushi with her dog and Judy Schettler with Callie.

In just a few years, the bloodhounds and their handlers became well known throughout the state. From this basis in bloodhounds, the SAR Canine Resource grew to include a number of breeds. In 1998, the resource included 16 handlers and at least five breeds, but it’s the bloodhound that remains the icon on the team’s patch. 

Myron retired in 1993 and he and Judy moved to a log home in the Ponderosa pine forests near Pioneer, Calif. Judy passed away in July 2010. Myron continues his interests in bloodhounds as second vice president of the American Bloodhound Club and treasurer of the northern chapter of Bloodhounds West. Mike is a member of CoCo SAR and is raising Baskerville, a bloodhound puppy.