Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bella Heads to the "Big Apple"

Lakeside: For the last 18 months, Fire Engineer Rich Smith has been working feverishly with his black Labrador "Bella" to complete her training as a FEMA search dog. Attached to San Diego US&R Task Force 8, Bella will join an elite group of K9's specially trained to locate victims buried in collapsed structures.

Bella successfully locates San Diego Firefighter Brent Brainard at the Tom Owen Training Facility. Handlers use this "alert tube" drill to sharpen their dogs skills.
But before these dogs can join the team, they must pass a rigorous series of evaluations that not only test the dogs, but evaluate the handlers ability to "work" the animal in disaster situations. This November, both Rich and Bella will travel to New York City to participate in a Search Specialist Certification test. If successful, Bella will become an asset of the Task Force that can be deployed to disasters throughout the world.

Bella 18 months ago, just after being paired up the Engineer Smith.
Bella will require re-certification every three years to remain on the team. Good Luck Rich and Bella!

Submitted By: Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District


  1. What a great asset to the Lakeside Fire Protection District! Good luck Rich and Bella!! You will both do great!!

  2. My kids and I LOVE Bella!! Good Luck, we know you can do it!!

  3. GoGo and The Corona Boys wish you good luck! You will do great... Black Labs are the best!

  4. GoGo and the Corona boys wish you luck Bella! You'll do great, black labs are the best!

  5. Doris Eastlick *mom*October 8, 2010 at 3:23 AM

    Richard, I am so so proud of you and all your accomplishments. What a wonderful thing you have done here with Bella, God bless you both as you go forward helping people. You are an awesome son!!!!!!! Bella, you are so blessed to have such a wonderful trainer that loves you so much.