NORMAN, Okla. — An Oklahoma power couple is on a mission. Legendary coach Barry Switzer and his wife, Becky, are both dog enthusiasts. In fact, Becky trains drug dogs with local law enforcement.
But now something new for the Switzers.
Due to our many natural disasters in Oklahoma, like tornadoes and flooding, Barry and Becky want search and rescue dogs readily available for the Sooner State, as well as other states in the region.
They say the quicker the dogs can get to a disaster area, the more lives can be saved.
So Barry and Becky saddled up and flew to the National Search Dog Training Center in Ventura County, California, where dogs and their handlers come from all over the country to get the training they need to be search and rescue teams.
Barry and Becky learned that, for the most part, the dogs trained at the center in Ventura County are found in regular animal shelters.
“The key thing is getting dogs that first of all can search and find human beings in rubble,” Barry said. “In houses, in disaster areas. And they showed us how to do that they’re not raised. They’re in Oklahoma City animal shelters right now.”
Barry and Becky would like to build a training center like the one on California in the metro area of OKC.
“I would like to see it somewhere close to the airport…if we go outside the region,” said Becky. “We’re looking west of Norman. Newcastle area, somewhere in there, but really, we’re looking somewhere affordable and works with the system.”
The Chickasaw Indian Nation is interested in helping make the project for reality Oklahoma.
Until then, Barry has this message for the rest of us.
“Oklahoma, we need you and you need us. Gonna make it happen. Heartland Rescue Canine Foundation in Oklahoma.”