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

Central Coast Regional District swears in new Board of Directors

There are three new faces representing our region and two returning directors

VIDEO: Black horse signals ‘sign of peace’ for Tsilhqot’in Nation

Justin Trudeau rides black horse provided by Cooper family

Trudeau exonerates hanged war chiefs of 1864 on B.C. Tsilhqot’in title lands

Prime minister rides horseback with Chief Joe Alphonse, TNG Chairman, to Xeni Gwet’in meeting place

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Rain, snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

B.C.’s Interior set to get hit with snow while the Lower Mainland is expected to see more rain

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

Roughly 42 per cent of children in the country play soccer, according to statistics from Heritage Canada

Most Read