Jeni Gibbs and Joss take in some fun on a clear March day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

VIDEO: Work is play for this B.C. avalanche rescue dog

CARDA certified Joss’s Job is to save lives — but to her, it’s all a game

Three year-old Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) certified Joss stands at the top of Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) fierce and determined. She’s been trained to locate someone buried under the snow. Though the gravity of her work can’t be overstated, to her, work is just another walk in the park.

“For her it’s all a game. Everything is fun,” says Revelstoke Search and Rescue Volunteer Jeni Gibbs riding the chairlift with Joss at RMR. “When I say do you want to go to work, that’s like, do you want to go have a really good time. Not really like most people’s association with their job.”

Gibbs is Joss’ handler. She’s trained Joss from birth and says they have an almost telepathic connection.

Today, Gibbs has set up an exercise that’s both practice and fun for Joss. Hidden in the snow is a friendly volunteer. And Joss is going to try and find her.

Gibbs gives Joss the codeword, letting her know that it’s time to do her job.

She’s poised as she performs the rescue drill, scanning the terrain with a steadfast determination and ease before alerting her handler that she’s done her part.

It takes Joss less than 30 seconds to find her volunteer buried in the snow on the Southside of Mt. Mackenzie at RMR, and Gibbs rewards her with a game of tug of war. It’s all part of the game.

Though it’s all fun for Joss, it takes years of relationship building and work to get dogs to demonstrate the kinds of behaviours necessary to get validated and certified as an avalanche rescue dog and perform the way Joss does.

But Gibbs is humble. She calls it, “easy.”

“It’s pretty easy, it’s like she knows what I’m thinking, and I know what she’s thinking, and we can kind of read each other,” says Gibbs. “It’s like this is where mom is gonna let me go and run around, or this is where I’m gonna’ have to go back to the truck. When I say something she just knows what it means because, I taught her.”

Because of all the time they’ve spent together training, Gibbs and Joss have a special bond.

Gibbs calls Joss her best friend, and says she is beyond excited that she gets to spend her work days working with her dog.

“To have your best friend with you when you go to work, it’s pretty awesome,” says Gibbs.

According to CARDA, one avalanche rescue dog can search hectare of avalanche terrain in 30 minutes.

They say it would take human beings working in a group about four hours to do the same.

Founded in 1978, CARDA is dedicated to saving the lives of those caught in avalanches.

To report a typo, email:
jake.sherman@revelstokereview.com
.


@Jnsherman
jake.sherman@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

(Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

(Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

(Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

(Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

Just Posted

Police warn Barriere residents about suspicious prowlers on private property late at night or early morning hours

Residents advised to secure their vehicles and remove all valuable contents

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

African Children’s Choir making a difference in the world

Waroto Children’s Choir celebrate Christ and caring for community on six month world tour

Snowpack at normal levels, but El Niño is lurking

Despite a warmer than usual winter that has produced a dearth of… Continue reading

Letter: New party with a strong platform could form majority government in B.C.

Voters fed up with BC’s political parties open the door for a new party to enter BC politics

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Most Read