By Anai Rhoads
Bill Monahan, from the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, and his Border Collie, Hunter, were searching a neighborhood near Haiti's Presidential Palace Sunday. The seven year-old pup seemed fixated by a large bowl-shaped area of rubble and was said to be frantically criss-crossing the area. His barking alerted rescue teams to get to work.
Monahan pinpointed the location, where he then discovered three young girls, trapped.
The four-story building had collapsed during Tuesday's catastrophic earthquake, leaving the girls in a dire situation. Under four feet of rubble, the three girls managed to survive great odds - with no food or water for five straight days, before being found by the search-and-rescue canine.
Monahan began speaking to the girls to reassure them that a team was on their way. He managed to tie water bottles to a stick and pass them to the girls. One girl simply replied with a weak, "Thank you."
Highly trained rescue crews from California Task Force 2 pulled the girls from the wreckage and proceeded to quickly assess their injuries.
"It would have been a reward to find one person alive. Finding multiple survivors is a huge victory for everyone on the Task Force. It's a giant team effort," reported Monahan. "From the canines, to the logistics team, to communications, everyone is working at full capacity, using everything we've been trained to do to find survivors. It's an honour to be here."
The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) is the only non-profit in the United States that recruits rescued dogs, partners them with firefighters, and trains them to find survivors buried in the aftermath of disasters. Their training and work are provided free to all Fire Departments throughout the country.
"Our thoughts are with our teams in Haiti, who continue to comb the rubble into the night. Their perseverance, skill, and strength in the face of extreme challenges make us all proud, and give us hope," said SDF Founder Wilma Melville upon hearing of the rescue.
Monahan and Hunter plan to continue their rescue and search mission in Haiti, along with the other seven SDF Search Teams, along with the California Task Force 2 and Florida Task Force 1.