OGDEN — The flags at the Weber County Sheriff’s Office were flying low on Friday after a longtime Search and Rescue dog, Jackie, died in her sleep that morning.
For more than a decade, Jackie, a 12-year-old border collie, was a member of the county’s volunteer search and rescue team as a K-9 cadaver dog finding bodies and drowning victims, according to her owner, Bryan Bennett.
Bennett was a member of the search and rescue’s snowmobile teams in 2006 and wanted to train a rescue dog. When he heard there was an 11-month-old Collie in West Jordan that needed a home, he drove down and adopted her.
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Although Bennett had experience training hunting dogs, it took him about two years to train Jackie before she was certified as a cadaver dog.
During her 12-year career, Bennett said Jackie was called into the field more than 200 times to assist search and rescue teams. The two were called to rescue missions around the state and the region, going as far as Washington and Idaho.
Jackie was used for any and all search and rescue missions, according to Lt. Brandon Toll, search and rescue commander for the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. Toll said Jackie and Bennett were in southern Utah for three days helping with efforts after the flooding in Hildale in 2015.
Although she was trained to be a cadaver dog, she did have one mission that ended with someone being found alive. Bennett said that mission was to find a hunter who was lost overnight near Monte Cristo, and Jackie won an award from the Red Cross for her work.
Outside of her work as a cadaver dog, Jackie was an energetic dog who was always on the move. Bennett joked that her passage in her sleep was the “quietest thing she’s done since I got her.”
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Bennett said that she was more than just a member of the search and rescue team.
“She was my search and rescue partner and part of our family,” Bennett said.
Bennett also has a second rescue dog — 5-year-old Mina — who he got when he noticed that Jackie was starting to show her age. But the new pup in town gave Jackie a newfound energy, and Bennett said she loved the competition.
Jackie was happiest when she was working, Bennett said. If you were tired of playing fetch with her, she’d take the ball and find someone else to play with.
If you need proof that Jackie made a lasting impression, just look at the tattoo that Bennett has on his leg of the dog’s face. He got the tattoo after he had Jackie for some time.
“She worked like she was trying to repay a debt,” Bennett said. “She was so much more than a pet.”