From Stray to SDF Hero:

Chief’s Journey Begins

In the scenic town of Mount Shasta, California, a new tale of hope and heroism begins with a dog named Chief. This remarkable canine’s story unfolds with an unexpected turn of events that led him from wandering the streets to potentially saving lives.
Four weeks ago, Chief was found as a stray and brought to the Weed Police Department. It was there that Officer Ryan Coates saw something special in Chief’s spirited eyes. “There was a spark in him that you don’t see every day. It was clear he was meant for something greater,” said Officer Coates.
Recognizing Chief’s potential, Officer Coates reached out to the Siskiyou Humane Society. Austin Browder, the Humane Society’s Executive Director, was immediately drawn to Chief’s vibrant energy. “Chief had this incredible focus and drive. It’s rare, and exactly what we look for in a search dog,” Browder remarked during his visit to the kennels.
The Search Dog Foundation (SDF) has a clear mission: to strengthen disaster response in America by rescuing and recruiting dogs like Chief. They look for dogs that demonstrate high energy, tenacity, and boldness—traits that Chief displayed in abundance.
With the help of the Siskiyou Humane staff, a video assessment of Chief was conducted, capturing his keen senses and unwavering determination. “It was a team effort. Our staff worked tirelessly to ensure Chief’s qualities were evident in the footage,” shared a Siskiyou Humane staff member.
Upon reviewing Chief’s interview footage, the SDF recruitment team saw his potential and welcomed him into their program. Today marks a significant milestone as Chief was escorted to the Redding Jet Center by the dedicated Siskiyou Humane staff to meet Randy, a compassionate pilot from the Pilots and Paws program. Randy flew Chief to the SDF team, where his training to become a search dog will begin.
“As Chief embarks on this new chapter, we encourage the community to stay connected with us. Follow our social media and newsletter for the latest updates on Chief’s training and experiences in the SDF program. He’s more than just a dog; he’s an example of the incredible potential that can be found in unexpected places,” Browder concluded.
The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, founded in 1996, is a testament to the power of second chances. By transforming rescued dogs into rescuers, they ensure that when disaster strikes, no one is left behind.
Stay tuned as we share more about Chief’s transformation from a stray to a hero in the making.
For more information on the Search Dog Foundation and how they create heroes like Chief, visit their website.
For more information on the Pilots and Paws program, and how they help any rescue efforts, please visit their website.