Friday was not a Bluebird day at Squaw Valley USA. In fact, it was rainy and cold. The rainy part is bad, but the cold part means a good chance of snow in the upper reaches. The snow producing temperature range actually came in overnight, but Friday was the first day of May and my last day at Squaw this season, so there was no way I wasn't skiing. Besides that, I had a date to meet Tucker and I'm sure the weather wasn't going to keep him off the slopes.
Tucker is a five and a half year old Golden Retriever and is an avalanche trained search-and-rescue dog with the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol. His handler, Ski Patroller Peter York has been training Tucker since he was eight weeks old.
I also met Boon, a German Shepard, and another Squaw Valley SAR dog trained by Patroller Eric Knudson. Patrollers Peter and Eric house and feed their charges year-round, as part of the family. Fortunately, here at Squaw Valley the SAR dogs veterinary needs taken care of at no charge by a very generous local, skiing Vet.
Volunteer veterinary services are provided at a quite a few resorts using SAR trained dogs, but not all. Most of the support to help with the dogs keep comes from outside sources such as the sale of T-shirts that you often see around area Ski Patrol shacks and other fund raising efforts.Please remember to support the various fund raisers to help care for the dogs, many of the events are held in the off-season, as well as when the snow flies.
Search-and-rescue dogs do a great service when called upon and deserve our support. If you ever find yourself lost or in an avalanche situation you'll be very grateful to have one of these dogs sniffing at your ankles!
If you would like to make donations:
Squaw Valley Rescue Dogs
P.O. Box 3302
Olympic Valley, CA 96161