Douglas County canines back from Washington mudslide

Douglas County canines back from Washington mudslide »Play Video

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- After the massive mudslide hit in Washington, authorities there called on a couple of local 4-legged helpers.

Puffin, Quincy and their handlers spent 3 days trucking through the mud, searching for victims of the Oso mudslide.

Catherine Schneider, a K-9 handler from the Douglas County Search & Rescue says it was pretty intense. "We were running the dogs in front of the excavators, clearing and looking for any remains," she said.

Keeping the dogs healthy was the number one priority. "We usually run them in vests here," said Linda Coffel. "All the dogs were running without collars, without harnesses, that way they didn't get hung up in the debree."

Schneider says in this situation, it takes a well trained dog to make a 'find.' "Obviously, there's scent everywhere for the dogs, they have to pinpoint a scent among a whole cloud of scent," she said.

Puffin and Quincy were each credited with one 'find.'

The handlers say they had to stay emotionally detached in order to read their dogs. "Because when you're running a dog, most of it is watching the dog's body language, watching for their indication that they may have located something," said Schneider.

The recovery efforts are expected to continue, and if this Douglas County team is called on, Coffel says they will return. "If we are asked we will go," she said. "No hesitation there."