Canine search team arrives in Japan after the tsunami
Canine search team arrives in Japan after the tsunami. Search Dog Foundation photo.

With canine search and rescue teams, dogs are getting the chance to do their part for tsunami-ravaged Japan.

The U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) requested that the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s California Task Force 2, a canine search and rescue unit, travel to Japan to aid in the search for survivors and missing people. Assisting them will be Fairfax County, Virginia’s, Urban Search and Rescue canine team.

The team, already deployed, had only been back in the United States a mere 24 hours after assisting with earthquake relief efforts in New Zealand.


“I’ve seen some pretty gnarly stuff,” L.A. fire engineer Jason Vasquez, who works with a German shepherd named Maverick, told reporters. “We search night and day in buildings that might collapse at any minute…. For the handler, it’s a pretty stressful situation being so far from home. But the dogs — they don’t know the difference between a block away and 2,000 miles away.”

Camp Bow Wow’s Bow Wow Buddies Foundation is raising money to support the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, which has deployed teams of search and rescue dogs to scour the wreckage in Japan for tsunami and earthquake survivors. The nonprofit will be taking donations for the cause until March 30, 2011. To donate, click here:

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  • wayne tills

    It is good to see that the Japan community is getting help like this from humans and dogs. Since dogs have a keen sense of smell, this will make it easier to find people trapped in collapsed homes.. Good luck to all!

  • Tamar

    It’s amazing what dogs can do to aid humans, isn’t it?

  • Terri Entler

    I would like to help the search dogs by donating our medical dog booties and wraps in cased of an on the job injury. Please let me know how my company can be of assistance. We have the best medical dog booties and bandage wraps around to work with paw injuries. We would like to help.

    • CC

      @Terri: maybe contact the ASPCA and they can direct you on how to make your donation? It is very generous and thoughtful of you to think for all those dogs that are hard working to find human lives. Thank you Terri.

  • Terri Entler

    Thank You. I read so much about the great work these dogs do and would love to help them as I know they get inured in the process.

  • Sandi

    Will you send me the komo 4 website URL to make donations for the dogs working at the tsunani?
    Regards, Sandi

    • Pets Adviser

      Sandi, we’re not sure what link on Komo4 news site you’re referring to, but there are plenty of links in the article above where you can donate to these great groups that are working directly in Japan. Also, see the links from “collectore” below for two more animal groups working in tsunami areas. Thanks! -Dave

  • Theresa

    Terri, Maybe if you contact the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) directly who organized bringing in the Canine Search & Rescue Teams from the U.S. They could work something out to get your donation to the appropriate place. There’s a link to them above in the article at

    Hope this works out, because I know the canine teams would be most appreciative of this kind of protection for their dogs.

  • collectore

    I urge you to make a donation (any amount). I have checked out these two charities, and they are legit. They are directly involved in animal rescue in tsunami-hit areas:

    1. Animal Refuge Kansai

    2. HEART Tokushima