Arizona Search Dogs

Arizona Search Dogs is a nonprofit (501c3) organization

Help our Suppporters!

Below you will find information from some of the local companies that support The Arizona Search Dogs.  You can also find more companies, that support us on our links page. Be sure to check back as we will update this information often.

Thanks!!

NUTRO Thank You!!

 

 

When you work dogs there are many aspects you never imagined you would have to manage and understand as you drive home with an 8 week old pup you hope will become an awesome disaster search dog. Growing up your parents probably purchased a generic brand of dog food from the local feed store or a nearby market. The cost was about $2.35 for a hundred pound bag :>). As a kid you are tasked with picking up poo in the back yard and never correlated dog food ingredients and cost with poo production or the health of your family pets. Years ago cooking for a multi-company Fire Station you found the safest way to go was to put quantity ahead of quality. If you cooked a meal for your fellow firefighters and the quality was sacrificed to some degree for volume and cost you simply set dinner time later in the evening. Any complaints could not be heard over the sound of hungry crews trying to finish second helpings before their next call. Fortunately for the Fire Service and Disaster Search Dogs we now put a huge value on a balanced and HEALTHY diet!!!

You would think challenging work outs and regular exercise would increase a dog’s appetite. That may be true in some cases, but when you are worn out at the end of the day drinking water and rest compete for importance over food with our dogs. As we tried different brands of dog food we found most dogs would eat a particular brand well, yet others would just not dig in and really take in the calories they needed to sustain their activity level. A dog may try to work you into adding canned food to their meals, but with some of our dogs the weight loss was significant and they just did not like certain brands. When you see more than a hint of ribs showing on a dog there is a problem somewhere. A couple of times we found brands of dog food that were reasonably healthy that all our dogs would eat no matter how tired or fatigued. The problem was that many of our dogs developed GI issues.

With GI problems we never knew if we were dealing with gastritis or a health issue like Giardia. We also had to isolate our dogs waiting for fecal test results and dehydration was also another possible side effect of these GI challenges. Seems like there was nothing made that all 16 dogs liked that did not cause digestive problems. We could have gone to feeding different food to each dog, but during a deployment a lost bag or water damage to your gear could be devastating. Having all the dogs on the same food allows us to share what we have until we find a store or return to something close to civilization.

One Saturday we sat down with our Vets and looked over ingredient lists for what seemed like every dog food made in America. Towards the end of our search we found a food made in the U.S. by a family owned company. It was readily available throughout the county and all of us liked the list of ingredients and the order they were listed. We purchased a bag and started transitioning over 3 of our dogs. Within a few days dinner time became a zoo…feed us now and hurry up seemed to be the message the first three dogs were telling us. At first this enthusiasm was welcome, but as the days passed the dogs kept trying to move breakfast and dinner times forward. What started as breakfast around 6:00 am was quickly changed to 4:30 am along with whining and anticipation like we had never heard before with other brands.

Backyard clean up was a walk in the park…solid and not near as many road apples to deal with every day. Of course things still smelled like poo, but you can only ask so much from a dog food company :>). Over the next three months the remaining dogs in our group were switched over to Nutro Ultra. 16 dogs…16 wild and crazy search monsters cleaned their bowls and when I say cleaned their bowls I mean clean. No GI issues, no finicky eaters, no food left glued to the sides and bottoms of wet bowls. We also have a few dogs that are so play driven we cannot use toys as a reward for obedience…they simply cannot focus when they see a toy. Food rewards proved to help with these extremely high play drive dogs so instead of high calorie/empty snacks their reward was Nutro Ultra…and a side benefit was you could place a handful in your pocket and your pocket stayed dry. No grease or oil wicked through your pants. Bottom line…we hit a huge home run!!!!

I honestly have to say we found this food through a process of elimination and committed research.  About two years later we learned Nutro and the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation had partnered to provide Nutro food to all FEMA certified disaster search dogs in our national program. When you are feeding 16 working dogs the cost can be overwhelming. When you depend on donations to keep your search dogs deployable both nationally and locally food is a huge part of your budget. With the savings we experience from Nutro’s generosity we have been able to bring new dogs into our program every year. Even a rescued dog from a local shelter is not without cost to your program. Vaccinations, treatment for things picked up while running the streets, X-rays to make sure hips and other joints are good add up. Tick and heart worm preventative can be very expensive. Kennels, toys, leads, collars, water and food bowls and regional issues like Valley Fever and occasional scrapes and bruises all come at a cost.

The bottom line is we have been using Nutro now for about 8 years and if someone else offered to pay us to use their product we would stay with Nutro!!!!!

Topaz Veterinary Thank You

Our group trains and deploys disaster search dogs with our Urban Search and Rescue team here in Arizona. We have been fortunate to assist with events like The World Trade Center, Katrina and other disasters across the United States. We train our own dogs so by the time they are ready to certify through FEMA we will have spent thousands of hours working and living with our canine partners. They become members of our families, they go to work with us and many times our vacations are scheduled so they can accompany us to all the Wally World like attractions.

When you invest this much love, training and time into a dog there is no replacing that animal. We have to look all over the country for a candidate with all the basic traits needed to do this type of work. It is not just a good nose or a willingness to please that is required. While those attributes are important it is a balance of many things we look for and need in a dog we bring into our program. They are so important to our response system that our Task Force will not be deployed without these dogs. This makes having healthy and happy search dogs an extremely important priority.

Because these dogs are all over the country training and working they can be exposed to a variety of things that could jeopardize their health, not to mention the normal bumps and bruises you get playing on concrete rubble and urban search training. The trust we have in everyone at Topaz is as strong as the trust we have in our fellow Firefighters. We have been with Dr. Berthiaume and Dr. Marzke for a long time and they are honest, hard working, caring and outstanding people. They are the best Veterinarians we have ever seen…and we see and talk to Veterinarians from all over the country!!!!!!!

It is also our opinion that the staff at Topaz is a reflection of care and responsibility Dr. Berthiaume and Dr. Marzke have for all their clients/patients. The techs and staff are caring and professional people that give everything they have to their patients. In all our years of working dogs we have never experienced anything close to the quality medical care and awesome customer service we receive at Topaz.

B & B Enterprises

K9 Unit Kennels

 

K9 Kennel

 

For safe and secure transport for search and rescue dogs or other canine companions, we offer a steel constructed K9 Kennel with plenty of ventilation and a safe and secure interior. Heavy duty door latches help to keep your dog inside while the powder coated finish makes it easy to clean and easy to spot and injury. These units come fully assembled so there is not extra time involved on your end for labor.

 

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