Bay Area Recovery Canines (BARC) is a volunteer canine search and recovery organization dedicated to providing agencies with with highly trained canines and handlers to assist in the recovery of missing persons.

 

Cassy: Dec 6, 1991 - March 16, 2006

Cassy had not been doing well since her constant companion, TJ died a few months earlier.  She had become stressed, constantly circling as if looking for him, which added to her rear legs becoming too weak to support her at times.  It was hard to watch those legs that shot her over my head so many times to get to a source or article or to whack me as she did her refind, now fail to hold her up.  It was clearly time to let her go join TJ.  She had lived a good 14 years though. 

She had worked a very long career, with being lucky to make many finds (some not in her assigned sector but she never limited herself to the lines us humans drew on a map).  She did everything I ever asked of her and mastered every aspect of sar whether it was wilderness, rubble, water, live or cadaver.  She was so easy to train and so easy to work and never threw in behaviors – either it was there or it wasn’t, and if it was there she was sure to tell you.  She could always be trusted.  She was always determined, focused at the task at hand and could problem solve like no other dog I’ve seen.  She put her big heart into any task I asked of her.  I don’t know how I trained such a good dog because if you add up both the younger dogs’ strengths and knowledge, it doesn’t come even close to Cassy’s.  She seemed to be born with great wisdom that led us both.  Not only was she talented in sar, but she was a joy to live with as she thought she was put on this earth to love everyone.  She was always quiet, obedient, patient, and loving to all.  Her only barks were when she made a find.  I could take her anywhere and do anything with her.  We worked well as a team, not needing much verbal communication.  She just knew what to do and when.  She accomplished so much in sar and taught me so much over the years.  I will miss my old friend.


Search and Rescue hero parts for greener pastures
By Peggy Johnson

Dear Readers: Having written about the Search and Rescue work done by Heather Roche's dogs in Mississippi, I was saddened by an e-mail I received from Heather this week telling me about having to put down Cassy, one of her beloved dogs.

What a heartbreak that was. She wrote about her dog and I asked and received permission to include it here.

So the following is an obituary for a great dog named Cassy, by her beloved owner Heather Roche.

"This morning I put my old partner down. Cassy had not been doing well since her constant companion, TJ (my first dog, the Search and Rescue wash-out) died a few months ago. She had become stressed, constantly circling as if looking for him, which added to her rear legs becoming too weak to support her at times. It was so hard to watch those legs that shot her over my head so many time to get to a source or article, or to whack me as she did her refind, now fail to hold her up.

It clearly was time to let her go join TJ. She had lived a good 14 years, though. She had worked a very long career, with being lucky to make many finds (some not her assigned sector but she never limited herself to the lines us humans drew on a map). She did everything I ever asked of her, and mastered every aspect of SAR, whether it was wilderness, rubble, water, live or cadaver. She was so easy to train and so easy to work, and never threw in behaviors, either if it was there, or it wasn't, and it was there, she was sure to tell you. She could always be trusted.

She was always determined and focused on the task at hand and could problem solve like no other dog I've seen. She put her big heart into any task I asked of her.

I don't know how I trained such a good dog, because if you add up both the younger dog's strengths and knowledge, it doesn't even come close to Cassy's. She seemed to be born with a great wisdom that led us both.

Not only was she talented in SAR, but she was a joy to live with, as she thought she was put on this earth to love everyone. She was always quiet, obedient, patient and loving to all. Her only barks were when she made a find. I could take her anywhere and do anything with her. We worked well as a team, not needing much verbal communication. She just knew what to do and when. She accomplished so much in SAR and taught me so much over the years. I will miss my old friend."

Later, Heather told me, "She was the best SAR dog I'll ever have. She went on hundreds of missions and found so many lost loved ones for families. Her last big news search was her work at the Pentagon after 9-11."

"Cassy would stand at the edge of a boat all day looking at the water, hoping to smell the missing person. Now that I have the younger two, I realize how special Cassy was to have that unyielding focus and stamina. She truly was a special dog that touched so many hearts, and brought closure to so many families. She had a great career, and will be forever missed."

Heather, I know my readers join me in sending condolences. I doubt there is a dry eye after reading this. Those of us who have lost dogs can understand the heartache you feel. What a wonderful dog Cassy was, and what a great handler she had, too. I am sure my readers also join me in thanking you for the work you do and the devotion you and your dogs put into it.

Heather still has two working dogs, Alley and Red.

What would we do without people who do this kind of work. Think of the time, love and patience it takes to train a dog to do this, too. Can we ever really thank them enough?

Now, have you hugged your dog today?


Published 03/22/2006 Copyright © 2006 The Capital