March 23, 2018
Five search and rescue canines were officially laid to rest at the Shreveport Fire and Police Academy this morning.
Though each canine passed at different times, the memorial service paid tribute to the life and career of each canine and their contributions to public safety and service.
The dozens in attendance, as well as several local media outlets, were treated to biographies of each canine, pictures and awards from their careers and several testimonies about what made each canine so special.
A eulogy was delivered by Bossier City Fire Department Chaplain Craig Kennedy. His remarks were as follows:
John 15:13 of the Bible reads this way – “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
As early as the 16th century, St. Bernard’s were utilized to assist monks in their travels during inclement weather, guiding them safely to their destination. It was these same St. Bernard’s who became the first tracking and rescue dogs, used to rescue and recover humans lost in the snow.
In modern times, the use of canines is documented back to World War I, as dogs were used by medics to help find wounded soldiers on the battlefield. They would then guide the medic and the wounded back to safety. In World War II, dogs were used in Europe, primarily in England and France to help find survivors and victims buried under to rubble of bombings. As early as this point, dogs were trained to alert in one position for someone who was alive, and another position for someone who was dead.
In emergency services, the use of canines is relatively new. In 1986, the first dog trained to sniff out fire accelerants was a Labrador named Mattie. Also, in the mid 1980’s, training for search and rescue dogs was greatly improved after response to an earthquake in Mexico.
We honor the service and lives of our canine partners today. Our canines are not just another piece of equipment used in the completion of our duties. These animals have undergone thousands of hours of training – just as all fire fighters – in order to be able to perform their work to the best of their ability. Our canine partners feel the pain in their feet as we do after long days of work and toil. They feel hunger in the pit of their stomach, just as we do. They know the cold of winter and the heat of summer. They sense the disappointment in their handler when the result wasn’t what was hoped for. Not only these things, they come home with us to our families. To our children, they are simply a dog – man’s best friend and companion. To our canines, we are simply their world of work and play.
A quote on the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Memorial says this – “Born to love, trained to serve, loyal to the end. Best friend to our nation’s finest, we serve our masters who serve mankind. Faithful to the end. “
Today, we are thankful for the service of our canines who utilized their lives to serve with us in protecting and assisting the public. Today, we remember those who are no longer with us and thank God for our fellow servants and friends.
K-9 Kody Born June 1999 Passed January 23, 2011
K-9 Wendy Born February 2000 Passed September 28, 2013
K-9 Ranger Born June 1999 Passed December 13, 2013
K-9 Ginny Born August 2007 Passed March 30, 2014
K-9 Tracker Born October 2003 Passed March 7, 2018
Let us pray.
At the conclusion of the service, bag pipes were played signifying the completion of each canine’s mission in this life.
If you wish to visit SFD Canine Rest and pay your respects, it is at the rear of the Shreveport Fire and Police Academy campus located at 6440 Greenwood Road in Shreveport.