Glendale residents have the chance to watch K-9 search and rescue dogs in action and even participate by acting as one of the victims, during a fun event designed to raise money for Officer Brad Jones' family.
The charity event was designed to benefit fallen Glendale Police Officer Brad Jones' family. The event is aptly named "It's a Bear Hunt," and will take place this Saturday Feb. 25th at Myrtle and Palmaire avenues in downtown Glendale. During the event several K-9 search dogs will be conducting a live search for people who wish to participate.
The work done by these highly trained dogs involves reward and play-type incentives so each person will receive a bear and the victims will reward the dogs with a bear once they are found. The toy bears have been donated by Bears and More, a quaint and unique shop in downtown Glendale.
"This exercise will assist the dogs in reaching their level of training hours that are critical for this service," said John Dean with Arizona Search Dogs. "We are excited to partner with Glendale businesses and the downtown community to raise money for fallen officer Brad Jones' family."
Dean said the dogs are trained to specifically search only for people that are visible knee-high from the ground or lower. "They know to completely ignore standing humans," he said. "This way they know to search for people who are injured, hidden, or partially buried in a ruble pile.
Dean currently works with a black lab named Ben. The apples don't fall far from the tree; Ben and his two brothers all serve as certified search and rescue K-9s. Ben became certified as 18 months, and although he is a veteran at 4-years-old he has the energy and friendliness of a puppy. Dean said Ben's favorite toy or reward for finding a hidden victim is a stuffed toy grey mallard duck.
Dean has worked with search and rescue dogs for several years and even took one of his former search and rescue dogs to ground zero after the attacks on the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001.
"This is the first time we've done this kind of event in downtown Glendale, and we encourage residents and visitors to take advantage of this event fundraiser," said Glendale CVB Manager Lorraine Pino.
Valerie Burner has been the owner of Bears and More in downtown Glendale, for 20 years. Burner said she was approached by Dean last summer and together they hatched the idea for the event, which originally was going to raise money for the Arizona K-9 search and rescue program. However, once Dean had heard about Officer Brad Jones' passing, he decided to donate the money to Jones' family instead.
"It's a double good, because we are helping the dogs train and stay certified, but we are also raising money for a family that lost their daddy," Burner said.
Burner said multiple local businesses helped out with the event, donating goods and money. Pratt's Feed and Pets Supply, Ty, and Super Embroidery were a few of the businesses which donated services.
Participants will need to register, sign a waiver, and pay a $10 registration fee. Check in will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the first hunt beginning at 8:30 a.m. Each person will have about 10 to 15 minutes to hide along the street and alleys before the dogs are released to find them.
In addition to the live search, raffle prizes will be offered. PetSmart has also donated a $100 gift card. Event sponsors include Glendale Civic Pride Ambassadors, Cabela's, Glendale Convention Visitor's Bureau (CVB), Arizona Search Digs and Bears and More. For more information, call 623-930-4500 or visitwww.visitglendale.com.