The dog teams, made up mainly of trackers-rescuers but also firefighters, came from all over the Pyrenees: Pyrénées-Orientales, Haute-Garonne, Ariège, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The young teams in preparation for their dog-handler certificate rubbed shoulders with more experienced pairs. Avalanche dog handlers are particularly called upon when it is necessary to locate a person swept away and buried in a snowslide.
Socialization and research
For this, the dog handlers have several annual appointments: among the most important, that of autumn and another in spring in Andorra. Thursday 20, the meeting was held on the grounds of the Canis club Pau. “The work focused on socialization, obedience and crossing, explains Jean-Michel Morlot, dog technical adviser of the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service, trainer of avalanche dog handlers and departmental representative of Anena. On a large operation, there may be several dogs, it is important to put them in contact. »
“We were able to have a small demonstration of the canine team of the municipal police of Pau and discuss with them about our specialties”, adds Jean-Michel Morlot.
The avalanche dog handlers then went to a more familiar environment for them, the mountains. A night job in the woods was planned but had to be canceled due to bad weather conditions. Regardless, the technicians took the direction of Gourette to carry out research exercises.
Last season, at least April at Lées-Athas, a team was mobilized after a father was buried in an avalanche. Thanks to the promptness of four members of the French Alpine Club who took the man out, the pair did not need to put their abilities to work.
“A good dog handler is first of all a mountain dweller who can bring his companion during an operation: on a hike, on snowshoes or in a helicopter”, delivers the canine technical adviser from Sdis 64. The canine must have a character sociable, playful and sporty for efficient work. Avalanche dogs have careers that average eight to nine years.