Rescue dogs in Davao

Rescue canines of the Davao Dog Squad are always ready to respond to emergencies
SFO2 Roseller Lagnayo Jr. with his dog, Snappy, an American Pitbull Terrier.
SFO2 Roseller Lagnayo Jr. with his dog, Snappy, an American Pitbull Terrier.Contributed photo

AFTER the landslide in Masara that highlighted Appa, the rescue dog who aided the rescuers in finding a live toddler beneath the mounds of earth, nothing had been said about the other rescue dogs who were there present and helping in the search and rescue or retrieval of bodies.

Among the rescue canines who were there were the dogs of Durian Dog Squad Inc. (DDS) formed by individuals of different backgrounds but with one common denominator: their love for dogs.

SFO2 Roseller Lagnayo Jr., one of the dog owners in DDS, narrated how the members conceptualized the idea of becoming volunteer rescuers themselves with their dogs.

"It was a meeting of minds with our group members deciding to put up a team of dog lovers with the same intention of training dogs with a purpose --- and that is to save lives through the help of our trained dogs," Lagnayo said.

He said their dogs come in different ages, sizes, and breeds but they painstakingly train them to become heroes in their craft, rescue dogs.

Renesme, Romel, and Sphere are all Belgian Malinois, while Snappy is an American Pitbull Terrier.

Lagnayo said his dog, an American Pitbull Terrier seems unlikely to be trained to save lives with the breed that is more known to be aggressive and much better for guarding properties and their owners.

"Pero dali ra kaayo siya na-train og karon maayo kaayo siya musimhot, dako pud kaayo siyang tabang niadtong search and retrieval operations sa Masara (But he was easily trained and now he is adept in tracking smell. He was a big help during the search and retrieval operations in Masara)," Lagnayo exclaimed.

The dogs of the Davao Dog Squad actively participated in the search and retrieval operations during the Masara landslide that occurred in early February 2024.
The dogs of the Davao Dog Squad actively participated in the search and retrieval operations during the Masara landslide that occurred in early February 2024.Contributed photo

Lagnayo narrated that as a registered volunteer, with proper training and orientation, they immediately proceeded to Masara when the landslide happened. However, they were not immediately given permission to go to ground zero because of the risk the situation and the area entail.

When they were given the go-signal, Snappy, Romel, Sphere, and Renesme immediately went to work searching for the bodies of the landslide victims.

Lagnayo said the dogs sat on areas where they smelled bodies buried underneath and the uniformed personnel marked these areas to exhume. They were able to mark eight areas where these dogs signified bodies buried alive.

Indeed, the uniformed personnel who were there during the retrieval operations, congratulated the dogs for a job well done.

"Giingnan ra mi sa ubos kay lahi man ang nagkalot, nga tanan gimarkahan sa among rescue dogs positive, meaning naa gyuy bodies sa ilalom (We were told that all our dogs have marked have bodies underneath)," Lagnayo said.

Contributed photo
Contributed photo

The Durian Dog Squad members were also participants in both local and national dog competitions and dog sports agility contests where they have won many times as a champion or as a second placer.

They have also been recognized for their effort and help in the search and retrieval operations by the Maco Fire Station.

The local government unit of Maco is also planning to formally recognize the team in a program that will be held this coming July, along with other responders.

Lagnayo said that although they were not against recognizing Appa, it is only but fitting that all the other dogs who have helped in the search, rescue, and retrieval operations be recognized as well. He added that in fact, the Davao Dog Squad has always been there when needed by the community.

The Davao Dog Squad Inc. is founded by Pruel Tan, Marlon Dexter V. Prado, Arvin G. Serra, Edsel S. Fulguerinas, Jeffrey S. Tom, Edwin N. Altizo, and Lagnayo in 2019. CEA

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