Toni’s Wooly Bear CD CGC TT SAR/ A ASCA-CD
DOB May 20 1992
Owner: Patricia Boggs
A Big dog in a Small package. A perfect description of a Schipperke involved in Search and Rescue. Wooly doesn’t know he is only 16 pounds and 13 inches tall.
In 1992, I bought Wooly for my 3 year old granddaughter, Toni. He was to be her companion to help her through the loss of her parents. A small black bundle of intelligence, I took him off to obedience lessons with Toni in tow. Maybe they could both learn to behave!
The group I worked obedience with, talked of a SAR unit to serve the community. I had many of the skills necessary for helping them get started. My problem was a very small dog. I started his tracking as a joke, intending only to put a AKC TD on him. Imagine my surprise, when I was done, that he was a certified SAR dog. One of the very first in Arkansas.
Slowly , Wooly became a really fine working dog. He accepted my blunders with grace, humor and typical Schip outlook..."Where’s the food? Shall we try that again?" And after a few mistakes, we have never looked back. Eight years and two SAR specialties.
Wooly’s talent soon took us into the Water Search specialty. And one after the other, he marked and helped recover people who had become missing in water. From depths of 130 feet to shallow mud holes, Wooly could seem to pinpoint a victim to aid the divers in recovery.
From an 8 year old little girl in Bull Shoals Lake, to a lost boater in a raging current, to the young man who had fallen off of a Railroad bridge on New Years...57 feet to his death in the Arkansas River. Wooly found and marked each of these to within 20 to 30 feet. The water depth from 40 to 82 feet, with current flow, debris and temperature all of different degrees. It was clear, we had a special dog at work.
Wooly’s trailing, both on land and water, have taken us on over 60 searches. He never misses in water. Temperatures on land have been from 24° in the middle of the night in a strange town, to 110°+ heat index at 5:00 PM along a local highway. From tall grass to rocky hillside, to deep woods, to dark and flowing waters. Wooly’s ability to trail human scent have aided in victim recovery and family closure.
At 8 years we had tried to retire him. Yet only Memorial weekend, he loaded and drove the 4 hours to Norfolk Lake to search for a young teen male who had jumped off a party barge and not come back up....the young man had been recovered 10 minutes before we arrived, but Wooly was still looking to work.
Wooly shares the life of his "kid" still, sleeping with her, and loving the changing adolescent of our home. The love of his life, he takes her confidences and treasures her love. What more can one small dog give in service of his human community?
His courage, intelligence and love, light our life, our home and community. One heck of a BIG small black dog.
Visit our next page to read Fox's story.