Three year old Lab Joss is a Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association validated work dog. She works in Revelstoke with her handler Jeni Gibbs, who is a former ski patroller at Revelstoke Mountain Resort and a volunteer with Revelstoke Search and Rescue. “For her it’s all a game,” said Gibbs, referring to Joss’ search capabilities. (Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

VIDEO: Work is play for Avalanche Rescue Dog

CARDA certified Joss’s Job is to save lives — but to her, it’s all a game

Three year-old Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) certified Joss stands at the top of Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) fierce and determined. She’s been trained to locate someone buried under the snow. Though the gravity of her work can’t be overstated, to her, it’s just another walk in the park.

“For her it’s all a game. Everything is fun,” says Revelstoke Search and Rescue Volunteer Jeni Gibbs riding the chairlift with Joss at RMR. “When I say do you want to go to work, that’s like, do you want to go have a really good time. Not really like most people’s association with their job.”

Gibbs is Joss’ handler. She’s trained Joss from birth and says they have an almost telepathic connection.

Today, Gibbs has set up an exercise that’s both practice and fun for Joss. Hidden in the snow is a friendly volunteer. And Joss is going to try and find her.

Gibbs gives Joss the codeword, letting her know that it’s time to do her job.

She’s poised as she performs the rescue drill, scanning the terrain with a steadfast determination and ease before alerting her handler that she’s done her part.

It takes Joss less than 30 seconds to find her volunteer buried in the snow on the Southside of Mt. Mackenzie at RMR, and Gibbs rewards her with a game of tug of war. It’s all part of the game.

Though it’s all fun for Joss, it takes years of relationship building and work to get dogs to demonstrate the kinds of behaviours necessary to get validated and certified as an avalanche rescue dog and perform the way Joss does.

But Gibbs is humble. She calls it, “easy.”

“It’s pretty easy, it’s like she knows what I’m thinking, and I know what she’s thinking, and we can kind of read each other,” says Gibbs. “It’s like this is where mom is gonna let me go and run around, or this is where I’m gonna’ have to go back to the truck. When I say something she just knows what it means because, I taught her.”

Because of all the time they’ve spent together training, Gibbs and Joss have a special bond.

Gibbs calls Joss her best friend, and says she is beyond excited that she gets to spend her work days working with her dog.

“To have your best friend with you when you go to work, it’s pretty awesome,” says Gibbs.

According to CARDA, one avalanche rescue dog can search hectare of avalanche terrain in 30 minutes.

They say it would take human beings working in a group about four hours to do the same.

Founded in 1978, CARDA is dedicated to saving the lives of those caught in avalanches.

To report a typo, email:
jake.sherman@revelstokereview.com
.


@Jnsherman
jake.sherman@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

(Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

(Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

(Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

Jeni Gibbs and Joss take in some fun on a clear March day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

(Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

Just Posted

Revelstoke Community Choir brings the holiday spirit

The Revelstoke Community Choir performed their annual holiday season concert on Dec.… Continue reading

Juno award winning artist playing Traverse Saturday night

Friday night will feature Illvis Freshly and Mt. Doyle

UPDATE: Stranger who offered kids candy turns himself in, ‘no nefarious intentions’ say RCMP

On Dec. 7 a man was handing out candy from a vehicle to kids in Revelstoke

Jocelyn’s Jottings: The end of no-spend November

I did it. I went a full month without spending any money… Continue reading

WATCH: Eyewitness captures moment truck slams into Tim Hortons in Kelowna

A pickup truck crashed into the front a Tim Hortons in Rutland causing a small fire on Monday night

WATCH: Eyewitness captures moment truck slams into Tim Hortons in Kelowna

A pickup truck crashed into the front a Tim Hortons in Rutland causing a small fire on Monday night

Morning Start: How many people live on earth?

Your morning start for December 10, 2019.

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

B.C. seaplane company set to test the first commercial electronic plane

The plane is powered by a 750 horsepower electric motor

Fireballs to fill the sky Friday for brightest meteor shower of the year

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Most Read