Area of Italy affected by huge earthquake

Do you remember when an earthquake or some other disturbance in the world would happen, and the American Red Cross and dozens if not hundreds of first responders, the National Guard, and any other resources that we had would be sent to see if they could help.

But…it seems that along with so much else…America sits and twiddles its thumbs trying to decide which bathroom is proper to use…you know,  ‘ important stuff’. But hasn’t sent any help. How tragic. Italy has been one of our close friends over the years.AAmatrace, Italia

I have cousins who live near Monte Cassino, which if you know WWII parlance, you know there was a HUGE battle between the Nazis and the Western powers. My people lived in the town of Panaccione, in the shadow of the great mountain that houses the monastery still. (My maiden name is Panaccione). Anyhow, some years ago we all met one another, and it was a fantastic family reunion.

My first concern was that their town was OK, they had suffered enough during the war…and a LinkedIn member was able to confirm that the town was fine, and not near the affected areas.Amatrace after the earthquake

How neat is that? That someone you met on LinkedIn, a world away, can check for you to make sure your extended family is OK? It makes you believe in good things again.

I know that my posts of late have had to deal with the heat injuries that have to stop with our police K-9s. But I’ve written much more about all the different K-9 helpers here and abroad that help us when times are tough, and every day, like mine do.

Here is a heart-warming story from devastation and heartache in central Italy and how K-9 search and rescue dogs have brought back two children thought lost in the quake.

The towns hit in the devastating earthquake in central Italy were small family towns. They had many homes and other buildings that date back to Medieval times. No more. They are for the most part gone, unable after hundreds of years to deal with such a horrendous quake. Little is left but the cobblestones from centuries past, and the blue tent cities that have sprung up to house the now homeless population. The Italian Government has pledged a large amount of money to help rebuild the towns. Both of which are little more than kindling now.Search and Rescue dog in Amatrace, Italy

But what is that there? It’s a big black waggling tail, and another, and another, there’s a yellow one…over 50 dogs are working the devastated towns. Looking for the living, and now more and more as time tics steadily looking for the dead.italian search and rescue dogs

Leo is a beautiful black Labrador retriever. He’s four and a half years old. He’s from the search and rescue team in Pescara. He went looking where neighbors and family members knew a family had lived with their two daughters. Sixteen hours after the quake…Leo alerted, and little Georgia was pulled gently from the wreckage….a miracle. Leo had arrived on scene just then, and within 40 seconds he found Georgia alive. It took another 9 hours of digging with bare hands to free her from what once had been her home. Here is a video of Leo at work:


Another dog, a German Shepard Dog, named Sarotti was instrumental in the rescue of a 10-year-old boy buried in the rubble.starrioti saves a child

On Sunday, the Pope declared a day of mourning, as the bodies of those found in the rubble are buried with as much devotion and love that is possible in this situation. Everyone keeps repeating…our first responders are exhausted, they’ve worked constantly since the quake started.

It would be nice if America sent some help. Money is nice, but having extra hands on the ground is invaluable.

And do you know another miracle that has come out of this tragedy? A lesson to us? Over fifty search and rescue dogs from all over Italy were used to find the alive and the dead. It’s August, and it’s hot and humid in central Italy, so far from the coast…The sites were unstable, with continual after-shocks, it was dusty and dirty….NOT ONE DOG DIED FROM HEAT-STROKE. Seems like the Italians treat their K-9 heroes with honor. Unlike some of ours.

   God bless our service dogs nationally and internationally!

Dio benedica i nostri cani di servizio a livello nazionale e internazionale!

    This is a link from Fox News how you can help the victims of the quake:

Italian Red Cross: Italy’s Red Cross has set up a general fund to support those affected by the earthquake.

*Pictures of the map of Italy and the before and after pictures of the earthquake provided courtesy The New York Times

*Pictures of the dogs working the site provided by state photographer.


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