A new documentary following search and rescue (SAR) volunteers and their dogs is now available to the public.
‘Sit. Stay. Search.’, shows the rigorous process dogs must do to train to become certified search canines, and how strict the rules are to stay validated in British Columbia.
Kamloops filmmaker Vesta Giles directed the film and she said the experience was amazing, given that the dogs they were filming were so well-behaved. But one of the biggest challenges was the terrain, she said.
“We were shooting in different terrains and weather conditions. Last September, we were in Lac Le Jeune, and all the search groups in the province were there to have their dogs validated. We had snow, sun and rain all in one day,” she said.
“We were in five inches of wet snow, running through the bush with them with all our gear.”
She added that seeing firsthand the challenges the handlers and their animals go through was eye-opening.
With COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, Giles said the team couldn’t put together a public screening and so they opted for making the film available online instead.
Giles added the goal of the film is to show viewers the challenges volunteer handlers and dogs face and how hard they work to overcome those tasks to help save people in their spare time.
“I hope people get a sense of what it takes to help people and to go out and actually do this job. There are hundreds of hours of training that goes into it and they pay for all this themselves.”
“When people get rescued by SAR groups, it’s not just a bunch of people who went out looking. They’re people and animals who have trained for many hours and put so much into it. What we need to do as a society is to be responsible and aware that if you’re out in the backcountry and someone has to come get you, it’s a big deal,” she said.
Giles and her team are also raising funds for various SAR groups. For more information, visit the documentary’s site.