Etowah County search dog among 24 Hero Dog Awards semifinalists - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Etowah County search dog among 24 Hero Dog Awards semifinalists

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ATTALLA, Ala. - An Attalla canine is one of three search and rescue dogs still in the running for the title of 2014 American Hero Dog.

Maxwell is a seven-year-old Australian Shepherd.  He is a nationally certified area live air scent search and rescue dog, and works for the Etowah County Rescue squad with his handler, Len Troman.

Your can vote online here to support Maxwell in pursuit of the award.

Troman began training Maxwell when the puppy was just six months old.  They search for missing persons, alive and dead.  Sometimes they find the person while in other cases they are able to determine the area is clear.

Last year Maxwell and Troman searched for a woman near New Hope.  Troman said the woman went missing in woods behind her home.  Local fire and rescue teams and law enforcement looked for the woman for about two hours before they called for Maxwell's help.

"I left work, got home and got him and went to the area and found out what the whole situation was," Troman said.

"Suited him up and told him to go find--we had a scent article for that lady--and in about 15 minutes he was done.  He made it look so easy, and she was about 300, 400 yards from home," he said.

"She was hiding from the people who were ground pounders trying to find her, but you can't hide from a dog's nose.  That made it so simple for him."

A few months earlier a woman went missing in the Childersburg area.  Maxwell searched an area of about 90 acres of Talladega Forest.  Troman said the dog cleared the area so they were ready to move on to the next zone, and a pilot flying over the next section spotted the woman.

"He said 'she's not here,' and so we knew to go elsewhere.  We hadn't gotten there yet when the helicopter found her and so that's fine," Troman said.

Three dogs remain in the competition from each of eight categories:  arson dogs, guide and hearing dogs, law enforcement dogs, military dogs, search and rescue dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, and emerging hero dogs.

If Maxwell wins, the American Humane Association will make a donation to the National Search Dog Alliance.  There's no prize money for Troman or Maxwell, just honor and the awareness Troman hopes this will bring to search dogs and their handlers.

 
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