Meet Our K9's
Currently, the team has three mission-ready K9′s certified in a variety of search disciplines. Our K9′s are often mellow, ordinary family pets until the sound of the pager or the sight of their gear being loaded into a car transform them. Once given their search command, it becomes their handler’s duty to ensure the well-being and safety of their partner. These dogs epitomize the descriptor, “Man’s Best Friend”, as they work tirelessly, in the cold of winter and the heat of summer, day or night, with little regard for themselves. They ask very little in return since their “job” is so important to them. After hours in the field and a successful “find”, they are satisfied with a special food treat or playtime with whatever is their “best toy ever”.
Spinner is a black Labrador Retriever whose birthday is November 22, 2012. She is a Mission Ready K9 in several disciplines. She is a certified trailing dog with Butte County Search and Rescue (BCSAR) and California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA). Spinner is also a certified Human Remains Detection (HRD)/Cadaver K9 with both agencies and is certified in Firearms Detection with BCSAR.
Spinner and her handler attended a Clandestine Grave workshop in Idaho where they assisted the town of Minidoka in locating unmarked graves in an abandoned cemetery.
Spinner and her handler spent an extensive amount of time working the Campfire in Paradise, Magalia, and Concow. That experience led to additional working time for the Bear Fire two years later.
Lillie is a petite, lovely Labrador retriever who was born in June 2016 in Nebraska with a strong SAR and hunting heritage. She was selected specifically to become a search and rescue dog with her owners picking her up in Nebraska and driving her home to Butte County.
She began her search training a few days later at 8 weeks old. She immediately loved the “game” of finding people and loved the challenge. She certified as a Mission Ready trailing dog in June 2018. Since that time, Lillie has certified as both a Human Remains Detection dog and a Firearms Detection dog.
She loves her work and is always eager to train. It is often hard for her to contain her enthusiasm when she arrives to work. Once she is successful in her find, she loves her food treat rewards and also time to play tug with her tennis ball on a rope. Almost everyday is a “best day ever!”
Walker is an up-and-coming Area Search K-9. He is a stunning pure-bred German Shepherd who comes from a strong working line Walker was born on August 10, 2021 and began his training at 12 weeks of age. He belongs to an experienced handler on our team who is able to take advantage of Walker’s many talents.
In Memory Of
Eris was a beautiful, gentle Belgian Malinois, born September 2010 in Illinois. Janice, her second handler, was gifted Eris in December 2015 so that Eris could continue her search and rescue career. Together they earned the status of Mission Ready Area Search Dog Team in June 2016. During her life, Eris went on to attain Mission Ready status in Firearms Detection (October 2016) and Human Remains Detection (May 2017) and finally Human Remains Detection-Water (January 2021). With her Water training and certification, Eris was able to travel to Idaho twice for specialized training.
Eris and Janice were part of the search efforts during the Camp Fire of 2018. Eris worked tirelessly to help locate loved-ones and bring closure to families impacted by the tragedy.
Besides searching with Janice, “Ball!” and “Cheese!” were her favorite things in life. She was truly dedicated to her job!
Sadly, Eris passed away in June 2022. She was still certified and working at the time of her death. Her special greetings to her human teammates are sorely missed. She made everyone feel that they were important to her.
Abbie was a beautiful, talented Labrador Retriever born in November 2002. She began her search training at 8 weeks of age and after an extensive period of training and testing she joined the BCSAR Team in October 2004. During her career, Abbie was certified in Area, Trailing, Cadaver, and Firearms Detection. Over the years, Abbie responded to 121 calls for service. These calls included lost children, lost or missing at-risk adults, possible homicide victims, evidence searches and work outside of Butte County to provide mutual aid to other counties with K-9 missions.
Throughout her career in Search and Rescue, Abbie was always “ready to search”, and would be one of the most animated and excited of all the K-9’s at a search scene. She knew the difference between training and a real search. After her first successful “find” where she located a missing gentleman with Alzheimer’s, she was transported back to search base in the bed of a truck. When she arrived, along with the missing subject, she lifted her head and howled. It was the first and only time she ever howled. She knew what she had accomplished and how important her service was. She continued on to have a long and successful SAR career.
Abbie loved riding in any type of motorized equipment (especially at the end of a long hot search), and was a big fan of both parades and school appearances to help teach kids how to stay safe in the woods. Abbie did all of this with a smile on her face, and no expectation of payment other than a special food treat or a quick game of catch with her tennis ball once she was successful in finding the subject of her mission.
Abbie was still certified and still working as a Search and Rescue K9 at the time of her death at age 13 in January 2016. Her handler, one of our long-time SAR volunteers, was truly blessed with an exceptional partner. Abbie’s love of her job was beyond measure.
Cooper was a beautiful, very large Boxer and a friendly and gentle fellow, who was one of BCSAR’s certified Trailing dogs. Cooper began his search training at 12 weeks of age. After an extensive period of training and testing, he joined the Team as a Mission Ready Trailing K9 in 2014. Cooper was one of the very few Boxers in the State of California to be certified as a search dog. During his working years, Cooper responded to many calls for service to locate lost children, at-risk adults, or an overdue hiker or hunter.
Throughout his career in Search and Rescue, Cooper was always ready to work. He loved to attend trainings, be with his handler and family and do his job.
Cooper was still certified and still working as a Search and Rescue K9 at the time of his death. His handler, one of our dedicated SAR volunteers, was truly blessed with an exceptional partner, friend and family member. Cooper was 6½ years old when he passed from lymphoma, and his loss left a huge hole in the hearts of all that knew and worked with him.