Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 1, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 11



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 1, 2012 


Every now and then, 
I hear someone say 
they went to a shelter, 
adopted a dog, did 
their best to make it 
work out, but ended 
up having to return 
the dog because it was 
simply “too hyperactive” or had “way too much energy” to fit into 
the dynamic of their home. I understand how that can happen, 
especially when there are children or other animals involved, and 
I give those would-be adopting families credit for giving it their 
best shot. Still, the sad side of the story is that when dogs are taken 
home only to be returned to the shelter, they often get labeled as 
“unadoptable,” which means they stand a higher chance of falling to 
the fate of euthanasia, regardless of their age or physical condition.

According to statistics I found on the Humane Society of the United 
States website (updated Nov. 2009) approximately 3-4 million dogs 
and cats are euthanized in this country every year. In a civilized 
society such as ours, I find that fact simply disheartening and, quite 
frankly, unacceptable. How tragic it is that we as a nation – with so 
many advantages and advances, both socially and technologically – 
are still allowing free reign on breeding dogs and cats, knowing how 
many will likely end up in shelters where they are put to sleep if not 
adopted within a few short weeks?

I recently read an article about shelter dogs that had been labeled 
as unadoptable due to hyperactivity, but were eventually rescued 
mainly because they possess that very trait. That’s right – dogs 
with extreme and intense energy levels, who are considered 
uncontrollable for the average family, have proven to be of use in 
the search and rescue field. It warmed my heart to know that the 
reason a dog is more apt to be put to sleep could turn out to be the 
very reason its life is saved, and that they could be trained to save 
people. It is rather ironic, don’t you think? Well, I think that is the 
kind of irony we can live with!

The Search Dog Foundation (SDF) is a non-profit, non-
governmental organization based in Ojai, California, whose 
mission is to strengthen disaster preparedness in America by 
partnering rescued dogs with firefighters to find people buried alive 
in the wreckage of disasters. Their teams (a dog and its handler) 
are provided at no cost to fire departments and other emergency 
service agencies throughout the country. 

SDF was founded by Wilma Melville in 1995 in the wake of the 
tragic Oklahoma City bombing. Prior to the Oklahoma attack, 
Wilma had left the comfort of her cozy home on a beautiful piece 
of property in Ojai to live in a plane hanger where she thought she 
could simplify her life and indulge in her beloved hobby of small 
craft aviation. Now, 17 years later, “simple” is definitely not a word 
one would use to describe Wilma’s life. After visiting the Oklahoma 
City disaster site, Wilma was compelled to forego her original plan 
of simplifying her life; she started an organization that provides 
canine search teams that are trained to rescue victims buried under 
the rubble of disasters such as the one that occurred that fateful day 
in Oklahoma City.

SDF has grown by leaps and bounds since it 
was founded in 1995, and today they provide 
canine disaster search teams to first-responders 
throughout the country. Included among the 
numerous emergency response deployments taken 
on by SDF-trained teams over the years are the 
9/11 WTC attack, various California mudslides, 
train derailments & accidents in Los Angeles, the 
Haiti earthquake, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 
floods in New York, the Japan earthquake and 
tsunami and many more.

Although SDF has succeeded in carrying out and 
completing numerous deployments over the years, 
thanks to the many volunteers and supporters 
who have gotten involved, their job would be 
much easier if they had access to a training 
headquarters. At this point, there is no facility 
in the US dedicated solely to training canine 
disaster search teams, so SDF has taken on the 
challenge of bringing this resource to the nation. 
They are building a National Training Center 90 minutes north 
of Los Angeles in Santa Paula, CA, featuring a Disaster Training 
Zone where 1st responders will get highly advanced training to face 
the most challenging disaster deployments. When the project is 
complete, Search Teams from across the country and around the 
world will come to take advantage of the unique disaster simulation 
scenarios that will be available at the Zone.

The Zone will be a 3-acre, one-of-a-kind simulation site that 
will include collapsed buildings, part of a collapsed freeway, a 
giant rubble pile, mudslides, areas for deep victim searches and 
train derailments. Each of the elements will be changeable so the 
teams will encounter new challenges each time they visit the site. 
It will involve innovative design, engineering, construction and 

This important and unique project will require funding to complete, 
so SDF is appealing to new and existing partners to help complete 
the National Training Center. As potential beneficiaries of canine 
disaster search teams being provided through volunteer efforts, we 
should all be willing to help make this project happen. For more 
information about how you can partner with SDF to make the 
National Training Center a success, please visit their website at Every bit counts, and most of us are 
indeed in the position to do at least a little. For the dogs, and for the 
victims of disaster, please do what you can!

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc


 This dog will capture your 
heart. Meet the lovable Cupid 
(A4514401). Cupid is an 
exuberant two year old white 
male “Schnoodle” (Schnauzer/
Miniature Poodle mix) who 
was found in Baldwin Park 
and brought to the shelter on 
November 21st. Weighing 
fourteen pounds, Cupid is 
intelligent and curious and will 
be easy to train. He is the life of 
the party, and loves everyone 
and everything - dogs, humans 
and most likely children and cats as well. Cupid will be a wonderful 
indoor pet for anyone in any living situation, and he would be 
especially good for a family living in an apartment or condo.
To watch a video of Cupid please visit:

 To meet Cupid in person, please see him at the Baldwin Park Animal 
Care Center, located at 4275 N. Elton St., Baldwin Park, CA 91706 
(Phone: 626-430-2378 or 626-962-3577). He is currently available now. 
For any inquiries about Cupid, please reference his animal ID number: 
A4514401. The shelter is open seven days a week, 12 pm-7 pm Monday-
Thursday and 10am-5pm Friday-Sunday. This is a high-intake shelter 
with a great need for adoptions. For more information about Cupid or the 
adoption process, please contact our Volunteer Adoption Coordinator 
at To learn more about United Hope 
for Animals’ partnership with the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center 
through its Shelter Support Program, as well as the many dogs of all 
breeds, ages, and sizes available for adoption in local shelters, visit http://




Sierra Madre, CA, November 30, 2012 – Early Thanksgiving morning at Sierra Madre 
Elementary School field set the scene for St. Rita School’s 6th-annual Dad’s Turkey Bowl. 

Anticipation filled the air as “Team White” (meat,) captained by Jim Gohrick, couldn’t 
wait to avenge last year’s devastating loss to Captain Joe Tupy’s “Team Black” (dark meat.) 

The popular flag football showdown has been a fun tradition for the St. Rita dads, both 
young and young-at-heart, to bond on the gridiron on Thanksgiving morning. Players 
take the game very seriously and family and friends of the St. Rita community all come 
out to cheer them on.

“Even though we stand to earn bragging rights for the entire year to follow,” said Tupy, “the 
real winner is our athletic program which receives a generous donation from the event’s 

This year, however, would not belong to Tupy’s team, as Gohrick led his players to victory 
after a battle of epic “portions!” The beaten, but undaunted, Team Black says they’ll be 
back in 2013 for the next win.

Stuffed with action-packed play making, good times and donuts, a great time was had by 
all! The final score was 32 white meat, 14 dark meat, with Jim Gohrick named MVP and 
Matt Birkett Most Valiant. 

St. Rita School, located at 322 N. Baldwin Ave. in Sierra Madre, is a Catholic parish school 
with a CYO award-winning sports program. 

Group Shot: Players from both White and Black teams pose together before the 
St. Rita Dad's Turkey Bowl. Right: Gohrick: Team Black player, Kurt Vasquez, 
lunges at an unsuspecting Jim Gohrick. Photos courtesy Diane Johnson