Rescue dogs trained to help rescue people

June 3, 2014

Phoenix 12 News | 


A rescue organization based out of Cave Creek is taking dogs no one wants and giving them a new lease on life, and maybe the chance to help save lives.

Some of the animals were abandoned on a desert highway, and others were surrendered with little hope of finding a new home.

"We rescue dogs and we give them a job," explained Marie Peck, who started the Fetch Foundation, a nonprofit which provides services to help save homeless pets.

Peck believes all dogs have a purpose and certain behaviors that may turn people off are just what the foundation is looking for for its search-and-rescue training program.

She told us they're looking for "extremely high drive. We need a search-and-rescue dog that will go, go, go and work all day looking for that victim."

Dogs once rescued are now being trained to rescue humans. Graduates of the program get adopted out to local agencies and are working full time.

One recent graduate is Ruby, who was found on a New Mexico highway, all skin and bones with no place to go. She may have had one knows. Now she's training to be a cadaver dog for the Peoria Fire Department.

Trainee Ruby was found malnourished on a New Mexico highway.

"She is probably one of the best-driven dogs I've ever had," said Dept. Chief Rick Picard. "She's just focused. She has a lot of energy and she's super smart. That's hard to find in a dog. When you can put those three traits together, they do an amazing job because they want to work."

Ruby is now training to be a cadaver dog for the Peoria Fire Department.

Then there are Killian and Cruz; both are being trained in therapy. They could be called to a crisis situation and do what loving dogs do best: help calm down victims after a traumatic experience.

Cruz is one of the Fetch Foundation's dogs-in-training for live-saving work.

"He's going to make a perfect therapy dog," said Peck of Killian.

In fact, Killian, a golden retriever, is going to his new forever home today and will work as a therapy dog for Gabriel's Angels, a Phoenix organization providing pet therapy for abused and at-risk children.

The Fetch Foundation only trains a few at a time, so the dogs get all the attention they need; attention and purpose.

"It is so fulfilling to know you pulled that dog off the E-list, which is the euthanasia list, and will have one of the most fulfilling lives of most dogs," said Peck.

The Fetch Foundation is a nonprofit and can always use help with donations; for more information, visit



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