Bryan County EMS adding rescue K9 to the team

K9 "Jasper" in training

BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Bryan County EMS is adding another officer to their ranks.

Jasper, a rescue dog found on the side of the street in North Georgia, is getting a second chance. Bryan County EMS says the one-year-old German Shepherd will be trained for live air scent tracking.

“We’re going to be looking for little kids that might have wondered off into the woods, Alzheimer’s patients that might have wondered off, and any natural disaster where we are looking to find someone still alive,” said Sarah Simon, Bryan County Firefighter, EMT.

Sarah Simon is Jasper’s 24/7 handler. They’ll work side by side together, and he’ll also live with her.

“The fire department has always been a dream of mine,” she said. “I started volunteering when I was 18, so to be able to continue my love of animals with the fire department was fantastic; a dream come true.”

Simon says it’s also a dream come true for Jasper.

“He does look a little bit intimidated, but I want them to look at him and see him as an ally and an asset, and someone they can be safe with,” Simon said.

So far, Jasper has completed his first initial basic training, but for his job, it’s just just “sit” and “stay.”

“It’s not just agility. It’s not just basic commands. It’s getting out into the community and having him comfortable with people - all ages, all ethnicities, all backgrounds - anything he might encounter that he is looking for. He needs to be comfortable around that.”

Bryan County EMS says they will know if Jasper and their pilot program is a success in about 6-12 months.

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