The stories that have been coming out of Joplin, Missouri over the past week have been heartbreaking, inspiring, and terrifying. As everyone knows, the city was struck by the deadliest tornado in United States history on May 22. As of the writing of this post, the death toll from the EF-5 tornado had risen to 142 with more than 100 people still unaccounted for.
Among the countless stories of heroism and of people driving from hundreds of miles away to offer their services or just a shoulder on which to cry, police dogs have been playing an important role in searching for residents of Joplin, both alive and dead, who are trapped beneath the rubble. These specially trained canines are able to detect human scent and have been brought from throughout Missouri and neighboring states to put their skills to work.
Readers of this blog and people who know me are well aware of my passion for dogs and my desire to share the amazing work they do in so many capacities, in addition to being wonderful companions and valued members of the family. They are able to help in ways that humans or even the finest of technology is not. In the midst of so much destruction and heartache, sometimes it is nice to look at these moments that were made possible by dogs and that bring some sense of joy or at least peace.
My thoughts are with all of the people of Joplin as they deal with their collective grief and then begin the rebuilding process. I cannot imagine what it is like to face a scene of devastation that occurred in a few brief minutes of time. The people of Joplin are demonstrating great courage and a beautiful sense of community that I know will serve them well as they move forward.