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Paws on the ground: Meet the Ardmore Fire Dept’s search and rescue dog

When disaster strikes, police and fire often run into the chaos., but few do so on four legs.
When disaster strikes, police and fire often run into the chaos., but few do so on four legs.(KXII)
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - When disaster strikes, police and fire often run into the chaos., but few do so on four legs.

Ardmore Fire Department’s rescue dog Stubby is an exception.

“He is a good partner,” Stubby’s handler, Ardmore Fire Captain Russell Pope said. “We try to go everywhere together. He’s kinda laid back at times but he also has energy if he wants to. He likes the red ball.”

Stubby wasn’t bred for a life of heroism, he’s actually a mutt.

“Some hikers found him as a pup, and found out he had a lot of hunt and drive to him so they donated him to this shelter,” Pope said.

Ground Zero is an Oklahoma City emergency K-9 training center started by Becky Switzer after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Stubby’s been trained to find people who are still alive in disaster situations. Now he’s working on two more skills: finding people missing in the wilderness, and finding dead bodies.

“It’s a lot of fun it’s amazing watching the dogs work,” Pope said. “These dogs are trained to locate the missing smell. Like we walk into the kitchen we smell cake cooking. Well he’ll smell the flour, the sugar, the milk, and then he’ll go ‘where’s the eggs.’ So they don’t work off of like a trailing dog here’s this hat and here’s what you’re looking for. They actually locate the missing scent.”

They’ve already been busy, from searching through tornado wreckage in Mayfield, Kentucky, to sniffing around a Downtown Ardmore building after a car ran through it.

He’s a favorite at the station too.

“They like him better than me.,” Pope said. “He gets extra hash browns, I do not.”

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