Twenty one year old Daniel Butler from Durrant, Oklahoma has always cared for the safety and well being of others and had a great interest in how animals can help save people’s lives. This interest came at a very young age when he and his family were driving down a country road in Oklahoma and noticed an elderly lady walking out on a dirt path in the middle of nowhere, looking a little disoriented. They asked her where she was going, and she told them that she was walking to Walmart. There was not a Walmart anywhere for miles. They returned her back home to her grateful husband.
It was shortly after this incident Daniel was watching COPS on television and a similar story came on about an elderly person with dementia who had been lost. They used a canine unit to help find the person. This began turning the wheels for Daniel and caused him to wonder how he could become involved working with dogs to help find lost people on land or water.
It was while his mother was showing the family’s mini dachshunds at a dog show that they learned about the Newfoundland dogs. These incredible dogs are born with webbed feet, a water resistant coat, and can thrive on land or water. They are naturally instinctive to saving and helping people. These dogs were often carried on ships, and if anyone had fallen into the ocean the dogs would jump overboard to save the person. If a person was face down in the water they instinctively know to flip them over.
Newfoundlands were originally bred and used as a working dog for fishermen in Newfoundland, Eastern Canada. They are known for their giant size, tremendous strength, calm dispositions, and loyalty. Newfoundland dogs excel at water rescue and lifesaving due to their muscular build, thick double coat, webbed feet, and innate swimming abilities. The large nature and muscular skeletal form of these dogs give them the ability to swim against strong ocean tides. They swim in a pattern similar to the human breast stroke.
Butler was sold on the dog, and with his mother, Dava Butler, and friend, Shane Hassell, he decided to start a non profit search and rescue team called “L&W k-9 Search & Rescue.” They were given a donation of a Newfoundland dog that was valued at $1,500 dollars to assist them. They also purchased a chocolate lab to train. He stated, “People love the dogs, they are so easy to train and very kid friendly.” The Newfoundland dog was hit shortly after their move here to Morgan, so they picked up another dog.
The nature of their business is not to overstep on the toes of the search and rescue already put in place by teams of towns or states. Instead, it is to be an additional help to the communities when there is additional help needed. Butler emphasized, “By no means do we want to step on the toes of the EMT or Search & Rescue organizations, but we want to be an additional asset, helping the general needs of the local Search and Rescue with finding people lost, or in danger. Utah is a vast land with lots of mountains, reservoirs, swimmers, hunters, and fishermen. There is always the concern of kids or elderly who have wandered off.”
The local search and rescue is always the first line of command, and this additional emergency response team is here to assist whenever the call arises. They work closely with the EMT, and medical teams as well in order to insure the complete care of those who enter close call perils.
L & W Search and Rescue train the dogs with other professional trainers so the dogs can assist in mountain and water rescue. The training for these dogs takes time and money, and they run this organization all from their own pockets and donations. They are looking to have other individuals team up with them, as well as other sponsors wishing to donate to this search and rescue organization.
Butler has always been involved with community service and the caring of people. As a youth he joined the Sheriff’s Youth Program, and has served since then in the R.O.T.C and been a volunteer fireman. He also is a ham radio operator, and has been involved in C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team.)
They eventually want to start a program here for the youth to get involved in helping work with their organization and their amazing dogs.
We welcome Daniel and his family into Morgan County as well as the passion and love they have for helping others.
For more information on L&W Search and Rescue, or how you can help or donate to their organization you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (801)603-6860.