Silverton gets avalanche rescue pup

Meg Hilling
November 15, 2017 07:01 PM

SILVERTON, Colo. -- In an effort to make the mountains around Silverton a bit safer during the winter, the community is opening its arms and paws to an avalanche rescue dog named Ed.


"When you see one work and how efficient they are and how much faster they can find somebody than any human could, it is eye-opening," said Ed’s handler, Ryan Mason.

Coming to Silverton from Telluride, Mason saw a need for heroes like Ed in an area that hadn’t seen dogs like him since the 1970s.

"Around here, it might be a child walking to school that falls into a snowbank. They are not wearing a transceiver. The only way we are going to find them is this guy," said Mason, a paramedic.

Ed is named after Ed LaChapelle, a leading expert in the avalanche research who had spent time in Silverton and passed away in 2007.

Given that Ed is only 12 weeks old, it is going to be a little bit before he races off into the mountains for search-and-rescue missions. In the meantime, he will go through a pretty grueling training process. That will include everything from sit and stay, to being around explosives, to searching and recovering objects.

"It takes most dogs two seasons, two winters, to be operational," Mason said. "I'm going to be riding the lifts here at Kendall Mountain, and around town on our snowmobile, and we will probably get him flying in the helicopter sometime soon."

But to Ed, Mason said it's like a game.

"We are going to play hide and seek," he said. "And we are going to keep making that hide and seek game more difficult until it is eventually somebody fully buried in snow."


Meg Hilling

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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