(VIDEO) Rescue dogs are also at work to save lιves after the eαrthqυαke between Tυrkey and Syrια

The very strong earthquakes that hit the region of Turkey bordering Syria took many lives. The definitive numbers of this immense tragedy are not yet known. Relief efforts are still in full swing and it is not known whether there will be a few or many thousands of victims. Volunteers, rescuers and local dog units and from all over Europe are mobilizing to try to save as many lives as possible from the rubble. Rescue dogs can make all the difference in these dramatic situations. 

On Sunday night, the 7.8 magnitude quake brought down buildings, hotels, houses of all kinds. A catastrophic balance sheet ahead that is getting worse by the hour. During the ongoing rescue and recovery operations, the aftershocks are continuing to follow each other, some stronger, some weaker. The tremors of Sunday night were even followed by a tsunami warning for the coasts of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily.

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The work of these hours and days is and will be very complex, as well as dangerous. Many dogs of the canine units engaged in the identification of survivors under the rubble. Many dogs of these units are also arriving from other countries, such as India, Israel and the European Union. 

The sense of smell of these dogs is exceptional and trained. Rescue dogs are regularly trained to search for people trapped or “hidden” during certain disasters. Also thanks to these rescue dogs, many people who have been submerged in concrete, stone and debris of all kinds have been identified.

The sense of smell of these dogs perceives the presence of people buried even many meters deep. They are raised as puppies, precisely because the chosen rescue dogs face a series of simulations in special sites during their training that reconstruct scenarios of serious discomfort. 

Landslides, earthquakes, floods are just some of the situations in which these dogs train to look for buried people. It is only in this way that dogs hone their search and identification skills over the years.

Photo: Reuters

Obviously the training follows the dynamics of the game, of the search and therefore of the prize. Handlers, the people who have the most important bond with the dog, teach them to bark whenever the presence of a human being is perceived.

Dogs, however, in addition to searching for and identifying human beings are also – in some cases, not always – a sort of “antenna” for earthquakes. In Israel, a family ran to safety after their dog started barking. He had sensed strange vibrations long before anyone else in the house.

The scientific community is still divided on the matter. In fact, according to a study published in the Open Journal of Earthquake Research , dogs show anomalous behaviors, real vocalizations related to the arrival of an earthquake. However, according to many other scientists the abilities of dogs and other animals are simply overrated.

Whatever the truth about these theories, we know that dog rescue is going to have a lot of work to do. There are still lives to be saved, hopefully most of those who are holding on under the rubble.