THIS CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN CLOSED
Organized by: Greg Dumas
My name is Greg Dumas and I am a professional ski patrolman with Arapahoe Basin Ski Patrol here in Colorado. While my ski patrolling career thus far has been centered mostly around working for the ski area and within the ski area business itself, I am in the beginning stages of something new and exciting that will ultimately take my skills within this job to a new platform, working and training in avalanche rescue not just within our ski area boundaries, but also outside of the ski area with the Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment [C-RAD] program. Check it out:
The Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment program is a collaborative effort between Colorado ski areas, local sheriff departments, search and rescue groups, as well as Colorado Flight for Life. With Colorado historically leading the country in avalanche accidents and fatalities, and backcountry winter use overall on the rise in the state, there is more of a need now than ever for rescue resources to cover the over one million acres of Colorado that is considered avalanche terrain. In 1992 the C-RAD program was developed for this purpose, and since then has grown and expanded to what it is today. Put simply, C-RAD enables rescue teams - made up of an avalanche tech, a certified dog handler, and an avalanche rescue dog - to be deployed via helicopter to backcountry avalanches for rescue. It is my intention over the next couple of years to not only train myself for rescue in the capacity of a dog handler, but raise and train a dog for the purpose of avalanche rescue with C-RAD.
Of course a lot of factors will come into play over the next couple of years in my pursuit of this goal. But it all starts here as I seek to obtain starter funds and the support to raise a dog fit for work in avalanche rescue. I have the support of my ski patrol in this pursuit, and, ultimately, once this dog enters the program, it will essentially be an employee of the ski area with me. I will have financial support for the dog’s medical costs and food, as well as support for the training it will take for this line of work, both for myself and my dog. In the meantime, it is my responsibility to find the resources to obtain the right dog for this work, and to train this dog so that it may become a certified rescue dog within the testing standards of the C-RAD program.
After considering my options for breed selection, I have chosen to raise a German Shepherd Dog. Historically, German Shepherds have been a working breed of choice for K9 police units, military, search and rescue, as well as avalanche rescue programs. Not surprisingly, working-line German Shepherds bred for the purposes of this work are not cheap, and the best breeders here in Colorado charge a premium for their pedigree genetics, health screenings and guarantees, and the early socialization that goes into their litters. Because this dog will need to possess the work drive for avalanche rescue work, as well as the temperament for being around the public and other dogs at the ski area, I believe that working with a breeder is a no-brainer. Not only are they passionate about the breed as a whole, but they know the temperaments and drives that result from their selective breedings, and are in the best position to pair me with a puppy best suited for a life working in avalanche rescue.
To this end, I have been working with Rocky Mountain German Shepherds (Von Dem Felsengebirge Kennels) located in Conifer, CO. And after weeks of waiting for two of their best working-line litters to reach the age of six weeks old, and screening the eligible females in the litters, I have recently selected what we believe will be a puppy with great working drive and ability for avalanche rescue. If all goes to plan, this pup will be ready to come home with me when the pup is between 7 and 8 weeks old, just in time for winter to ramp up here in Colorado. This winter will be a good season for ski area socialization and obedience training for the pup, with some age-appropriate rescue training as well as the puppy grows.
I believe that I am an excellent fit for raising and training an avalanche rescue dog. I have been involved in our in-house dog program for the last two years at Arapahoe Basin, while also furthering my own avalanche rescue skills to Level II status with the American Avalanche Institute and the National Avalanche School. In bringing my own dog into the program, I think I will be in a great position to tie together my developing knowledge of avalanche safety and rescue with this new arena of dog handling.
All funds generated with this CrowdRise fundraiser will go directly towards the purchase of this dog (yet to be named!) to be used for avalanche rescue work here in Colorado. Your donation will be the first step for me in this exciting process. Any funds beyond the cost of the dog will go into purchasing supplies and perhaps even some preliminary formal obedience training.
I encourage any interested supporters to contact me if you have any questions that I may not have answered in the body of this fundraiser. Many thanks in advance for your support in this effort.