Ego Alley was born in October 1998 and at 7 weeks old, she was
picked to be my next SAR dog. She had a rough start in life with
some orthopedic issues.
Most thought she should not work, including
me. I tried making her a pet but she refused to just be a pet so I
decided she should be allowed to work as long as she was able to and
She has so much personality and so much drive—her
whole being is about being happy to work. Luckily her talent is
equal with her desire. With Alley, I don¹t train her—I merely LET
her work. She is the driving force behind her career.
this little happy dog! She works without giving any thought to
anything else happening around her. She works even without being
given a command because finding sources is part of her core being.
She is unbelievable to watch. Searching is what she was born to do.
There is a talent and driving force
I have never seen in any other
SAR dog (I¹ve been doing this for 19 years and have trained 5 of my
own SAR dogs, plus helped hundreds of others)!
I can¹t help but
think at this point, that this special dog came into my household to
do what she has done for our community and for our nation when they
needed her skills and determination.
Her career has been amazing. We needed her and she was there for us
at the Pentagon after 9-11. She was sent to Texas by FEMA to help in
the Space Shuttle Columbia recovery efforts. She worked the
devastation in Bay St. Louis, MS after Hurricane Katrina.
worked countless other searches in numerous states looking for those
who are missing. She's found a child deeply buried for the National
Center for Missing & Exploited Children. She's found several drownings in rivers and lakes as well as others missing in different
Alley has even worked with archeologists proving dogs can
find historical and pre-historical remains. I am in awe at her
talent and desire to find.
She was put here for a reason, and I believe that she is fulfilling
it. This is this dog¹s calling in life—to serve our nation, our
communities, and those families missing loved ones.
As far as her health goes, the radiation helped the pain and allows
her to get around without too much limping. On good days she doesn't
limp at all. She has been suffering from nose bleeds and now her
recent blood work shows some kidney failure.
You wouldn't know it by
looking at her as she is always happy and eager to work! (The
picture of her in the boat doing water search was taken just last
SEPTEMBER 1, 2008 UPDATE
We received this very sad post from Heather about her
special girl, Alley.
While trying to figure out the cause for Alley's
nose bleeds, we finally got the correct cancer diagnoses. She
actually had Multiple Myeloma. She went on chemo and Prednisone
the last two weeks, but her abdomen kept swelling. Yesterday she
was in a lot of pain with a distended abdomen on top of her
going back to being 3 legged lame. I took the day off work to
take her to a new oncologist who was very kind in making an
emergency appointment for us. Ultrasound results showed a mass
in her intestines backing up everything in her stomach.
My wonderful FEMA vet talked with the oncologist and understood
my feelings I could not put Alley through another surgery. It
was time to end her suffering. Literally as this was unfolding
at the specialty clinic, I was playing phone tag with an
authority about a future search and watching the notices as FEMA
was deploying teams for the approaching hurricane.
Talk about being torn. It made the fact I was about to lose my
trusted and always ready to search partner even harder as I knew
I would no longer have her to rely on for either mission should
I be asked to respond.
I was fortunate to have good vets giving Alley the best care.
Even though my regular vet was off, he came out to my house to
put Alley down. He has put down each of my K9 partners making
sure they go in peace, comfortably at home with me there.
I will miss that happy little dog!