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Lifestyle & Human Interest

'Gentle Giant' Rescue Dog from Oregon Gives Back by Joining Search and Rescue Team

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Many times, dogs are specifically bred for high-stakes jobs. Protection dogs, K-9s and guide dogs are often from proven, respected lines.

But that doesn’t mean other dogs can’t be good candidates, and lately, it seems that there has been a trend of pulling from rescues and shelters when dogs exhibit traits that would make them good at a particular job.

Forrest is one of those pups. Plucked from a rescue situation in Oregon, the black labrador retriever has shown that he has a penchant for search and rescue work.

According to People, he began his training last August and has become part of an elite team of handlers and dogs who graduated from the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s program on May 28.

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“Forrest did very well, showing trainers every day that he loved to hunt (and to bark)!” read a statement from Farmer’s Insurance, which teams up with the Search Dog Foundation to locate and train the dogs.

“He was also introduced to building searches, where his confidence soared, and he thrives. Forrest loves to use his nose to hunt — it’s one of the most rewarding things for him.

“Trainers also played with him on the rubble with the toy to show him that being on the uneven surface of the concrete can be fun. Forrest has become incredibly confident in finding his footing and enjoyed all the elements of training.”

The company added that despite his size — as a 100-pound dog — he’s “a very big dog who is light on his feet” and a “gentle giant.”

Tom Simons with the Salt Lake City Fire Department was assigned as Forrest’s handler, and together the two are now proud members of Utah Task Force 1.

“Here are the new teams!” the Salt Lake City Fire Department posted on Facebook on Sunday. “Once again we are very proud of each of these individuals.”

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Simons and Forrest will spend some time getting to know each other and will no doubt be an asset in whatever situations they encounter, as the rescued dog becomes the rescuer.

According to his Facebook page, Simons lost a beloved black labrador earlier this year, so Forrest’s arrival seems timely. He’s already showing off his new partner as Forrest gets settled in.

“Haven’t even had my boy a week, and he’s already a star!” Simons posted on Friday. “So excited to see where this journey with Forrest takes me!”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking