On The Prowl For Avalanche Victims

(NBC NEWS) Ava the rescue dog is learning all about how to find victims of an avalanche in the hills above Flagstaff, Arizona.

“We do have some more snow now so we can build snow caves and work on some good training drills,” says Hailey Hagerty, ski patroller at Arizona Snowbowl and Ava’s trainer.

“We are still working on hide-and-seek drills. People will hide in caves and we will bury them in snow, and she’ll go out and search for them,” she says.

Ava had a big breakthrough a few weeks ago when she learned how to alert Hailey to someone who is buried.

“She actually didn’t bark alert until we went to dog school and she figured it out, so that’s a huge accomplishment we’ve been working on,” she says.

Even though the thought of an avalanche in Arizona might seem odd, it does happen.

“Here in Arizona we do have a significant risk, it depends every year. It depends on our snow pack and this year, we haven’t enough snow to have a significant risk,” says Hagerty. “But when we do have snow. Our whole ski area is nested under the upper bowl terrain, which is avalanche terrain, so we have Ava just in case we need her.”

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Categories: Across the Nation, US & World News, WMGT

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