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

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Baby makes surprise arrival in car on Sheep Creek Hill

Meldrum Creek woman delivers in the passenger seat

Emergency management top priority for CCRD

MOU will be the first of its kind in B.C.

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

Most Read