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Summit County avalanche rescue dogs train to save lives

By: Jessica Smith, SummitDaily
December 15, 2017 Updated: December 15, 2017 at 6:10 pm
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(Photo courtesy of Breckenridge Ski resort via Summit Daily News)

Summit County's resorts employ a number of ski patrollers who work to keep people on the slopes safe. Helping out their two-legged companions are the avalanche rescue dogs, ready to sniff out trouble at a moment's notice.

The Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment (CRAD) program certifies dogs and dog handlers used for search and rescue missions.

Dogs start training at a young age and, in Summit County, are owned by their handlers, meaning the dogs spend nearly all their time with the same person in both work and play.

“By living with the dog and having it be yours, and a dog you work extremely closely with, you develop a bond and you learn to read each other. The dog learns to read your emotions, and you learn the dog’s body language,” says John Reller, an avalanche dog handler for Copper Mountain Resort and CRAD coordinator. “The bond is incredibly important in how you and that dog work.”

Read the full story here

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