Although the team of Fire Captain Andy Olvera and his yellow lab search and rescue canine "Stetson" have not yet had the chance to use their FEMA certification to its full potential in disaster zones, that is not keeping the pair from helping others. On June 9, this canine search and rescue team participated in the 8th Annual Top Dogs Show at the Annual Palos Verdes Street Fair. Some of the proceeds from the show will benefit canine search and rescue organizations, including our own.
The event brought in over 40,000 people over the weekend. During the show, Olvera demonstrated how Stetson and he work as a team to find missing people who could be trapped under debris. After showing off Stetson's great search and rescue skills, Olvera served as a "firefighter judge" for all the canine participants. Other judges included a marketing representative for Southbay magazine, a Subaru representative, a Natural Balance dog food representative and James Symington, founder of Team Trakr Foundation (his dog "Trakr" found the last survivor at Ground Zero).
Olvera and Stetson were partnered in 2011 by the National Disaster Search and Dog Foundation. Stetson is highly trained in live scent detection. Olvera and Stetson respond to disasters locally, nationally and internationally as part of California Task Force 2. Stetson is known as "the rescued becoming the rescuer" after being donated to the National Search Dog Foundation from Labs and Friends Rescue located in San Diego, California. Since Stetson received a second chance, he is now dedicating his life to returning the favor by saving lives on a daily basis.
The small donation from the Top Dogs Show will not only help to improve our Department's canine program but since national disasters occur at random times and places, the money raised by the duo could produce another Trakr or Stetson. Thanks to Olvera and Stetson for not only raising money for the Department, but also for going far beyond the call of duty. Keep up the great work!