Meet Flo – an energetic and confident four-year-old Border Collie who has a knack for saving lives. Flo is a member of Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England (MRSDE), an organization dedicated to training rescue dogs to help people in need in the wild – come shine or snow!
Along with her other pooch companions, Flo always has a paw to offer, even when it comes to those really furry situations we silly humans sometimes find ourselves in. She is well known for her unusually tall upright ears, quick feet, and has, to date, attended well over 30 operational call outs for missing persons!
Flo has become a bit of an Internet sensation after a video of her “saving” a volunteer with a camera buried in the snow went viral. The video posted on Twitter asks, “Ever wondered what it would be like to be buried in snow and found by one of our happy search and rescue dogs?” It shows Flo barking and using her paws to dig through the snow pile before rushing to the person buried underneath. Watch full video here.
Flo is a search dog trained to ‘Air Scent’. What does Air Scent mean, exactly? Simply put, Flo isn’t specialized in tracking missing persons but instead reacting to a human scent being blown towards her by the wind or air currents.
This means that as long as Flo is searching downwind of a casualty or items with human scent, she should find them. Flo’s fantastic ability to smell is not unique only to her. All dogs have great noses.
Dogs’ noses have 300 million receptors, compared to around 6 million for humans, and the area of their brains set up to process smells is proportionally 40 times larger than ours. Due to their superior sense of smell, dogs can pick up a scent from a quarter of a mile away or more, and with the right training, can guide their handler back to the source of the smell. Their noses are quite remarkable.
Like all the other doggies at MRSDE, Flo underwent lots of ‘time in the field’, learning obedience and stock familiarization training before graduating with flying colors.
“We all know that dogs are man’s best friend, but it’s important that we also acknowledge how important they are when it comes to saving our lives,” says David Barritt of Network for Animals (NFA). “So let’s celebrate our beloved pooches and their many wonderful skills – wet noses and all!”