HUDSON, TX (KTRE) - East Texas is home to the only fire department in the state that has their own K9 search and rescue team.
The Hudson volunteer Fire Department trains their handlers and dogs routinely to make sure they are always mission ready when the call comes in that someone is lost or missing and their team is needed.
It's a specialized team of handlers and dogs with top-notch people finding skills.
The Hudson volunteer Fire Department K9 Search and Rescue team is up to 10 dogs that are currently in-training or mission ready.
"We do this as a service to our community and because we have a calling to do this," said K9 SAR Team, assistant coordinator, Mike Stevens.
Hudson is the only fire department in the state that has this kind of team and for that reason they're called out to assist with finding missing or lost people across the state.
And with the job comes a lot of responsibility for both dog and for handler.
"You have the responsibility of training your dog and getting the training you need to perform in the field," said Stevens.
Hudson's has K9's trained in three different disciplines: human remains detection, trailing and air scent.
Abby is a trailing dog.
"The dog is scent specific and that dog is working off a scent article off of a subject that we're looking for and for that reason the dog stays on lead and the handler is with the dog at all times," said Stevens.
Tara doesn't need a specific scent to find her practice subject.
"That dog is an air scent dog," said Stevens. "We do not have to have a scent article and the dog works off lead and will do a re-find when it find the subject. It does that a high skill level and it does take time to train a dog and also once the dog is trained and mission ready we have to keep that dog in focus and trained to a point t hat we can respond to it."
The K9 search and rescue team logs a lot of training time but they also need volunteers, monetary donations and places to train to continue their important work.
"We need to have as many real world situations as we have because when we go look for someone that's missing, we've never been in that area before so as many different terrain situations, large open spots, wooded spots and so on. Those are real important for us to work in different areas," said Stevens.
Hudson's K9 Search and Rescue team trains their dogs on a weekly basis so they're ready to serve the 16 east Texas counties or anywhere else they're needed.
You can find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/hudsonfirerescue