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Bay County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team hosts annual K-9 training seminar

Published: Feb. 27, 2021 at 8:44 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Bay County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team responds to an average of 25 calls every year.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the lost. Whether presumably, unfortunately, deceased, or finding the living,” Bay County Sheriff’s Sergeant Peggy Wilson said.

Wilson couldn’t do it without her right-hand girl, Cali.

“Her call, we always say, ‘go find your friend.’ And that’s what she does,” Wilson said.

Cali can do what humans can’t.

“A K-9 has that split sense of smell. They can smell something on the right side and the left side. And they know which way to go because they can smell two different smells at the same time,” Wilson said.

Every year, Bay County’s K-9 Search and Rescue Team hosts dozens of K-9s and their handlers from across the country. They train them on everything from tracking and trailing to human remains detection.

On Saturday, teams did some exercises near the airport to simulate a search under pressure and loud sound. With so many planes passing by, it’s easy for dogs to get distracted.

But after six years, Cali knows what she’s doing.

“I’m very fortunate with Cali, we’ve been put in unique situations where she’s been able to find the missing,” Wilson said.

Wilson added that dogs make all the difference in search and rescue missions.

“Anything that’s missing, a K-9 is what you want to get out first,” Wilson said.

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