The name we chose for puppy number 8 is Matsi. Matsi was owned by Brenda Walker, who is a K9 handler with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team. She served alongside Brenda from 2002-2010. Together, they were certified in Human Remains Detection, Evidence Recovery, and Search and Rescue. Matsi, whose name means "sweet and brave" was credited with finding a 6 year old boy in 2004, and also evidence at a crime scene in 2006.
Many times, canine search and rescue/human remains detection teams do not get the credit they deserve. Unlike police or military, these volunteers have to pay for their own dogs, training, and equipment. It takes about 9-12 months to fully train a SAR/HRD dog, and because it's volunteer, training is usually done after work or on days off. If the canine or handler gets injured on a search or during training, that cost also comes out of the handlers own pocket.
Search and rescue can be very hard on a dog's body, and all those years of training and working took its toll on Matsi. Near the end of her life Matsi had difficulty walking, but Brenda bought her a jogging stroller and the two enjoyed the outdoors together until her passing in 2016.
I know it was very hard for Brenda to lose her beloved partner. When you are a K9 handler, whether police, military, or SAR, you develop an indescribable bond with that dog. Losing them is like losing a piece of you.
Thank you K9 Matsi for making this world a better place. And thank you Brenda, for all the work you poured into that "sweet and brave" dog. She couldn't have done what she did without you! Blessings to you and your newest K9 Willow, we know you both are an asset to your team and your community.