We were delighted to speak to John Parsons from the Canadian Canine Search Corps to learn how John and his amazing team of volunteers and search dogs help to find and recover the lost and missing in order to help bring closure to their loved ones.
Based out of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, the Canadian Canine Search Corps (CCSC) is an organization made up of volunteers who are dedicated to and passionate about helping others through the specialized training of canines for search and recovery of human remains.
Each canine team, consisting of a dog and their handler, specializes in human remains detection. Every team undergoes rigorous training and certification to ensure that they are able to provide the highest quality of search, location and detection. Dispatching free of charge to requesting parties, CCSC believes that everyone deserves closure when a loved one goes missing.
Koda, Bruce, Sailor, River, Scarlet, Ryka, Cooper, Tyme, Nando, Cru, Rogue, Sydney and Lady make up the exceptional canine team of the CCSC. “Our dogs are so generous,” said John. “They have to be close to other people and close to other dogs, they are very well trained and prepared.”
The CCSC utilizes the DTG3 to aid in their missions. The ROV is fondly called “Levi” - “Levi was named after one of our founding search dogs - a very high caliber dog,” explained John.
In short, the CCSC team uses the DTG3 as a search aid and to verify targets. “We use the ROV to verify physically with eyes underwater,” shared John. “We also use the grabber arm to attach to something on the target, with the potential of bringing that target to the surface.”
The ROV works in conjunction with CCSC’s talented and hardworking canine team. “When we search lakes or rivers or water bodies for a drowning victim, our dogs are the surface sonars who are trained to alert on human remains, so they are scenting that human or person” explained John. “We find a target area or target using our side scanning sonar and verify that target with the ROV.”
“It’s a valuable tool for our team, it’s good to have. If we were asked by an agency, RCMP, or police force to assist, typically they want us to have proof of eyes on the target. As an NGO we have to provide reliable information. This tool certainly provides that for us” said John.
“This is one of our tools that we need,” emphasized John. “It gives the families the ability to move on and provide closure.”
With the DTG3 Expert package, the CCSC team navigates their vehicle without the use of sonar or DVL. “Without a sonar or DVL, the compass direction works quite well. Having a reference point is key - we position the camera at about 15 degrees down so we can see just the tips of the grabber arm as a point of reference,” said John. “We can navigate it knowing our bearing and just knowing what direction we’re going. The add-on of a sonar or DVL would be the next step.”
The CCSC team uses their DTG3 in a variety of conditions and circumstances. John touched on the portability of the vehicle noting, “the dinghy is great for deployment but we’ve also used our ROV successfully from the shoreline.”
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As a busy organization running time sensitive searches it’s imperative that the CCSC had a vehicle that was straightforward to operate.
“I enjoy driving it and piloting it, it responds well,” said John. “The gain control is a very nice feature, that’s been really helpful.”
The CCSC team started their ROV training in a pool to ensure that they would be ready to take on their first mission. “We set up an obstacle course in the pool and operators had their back to the pool while operating,” John explained. “Everytime we use it we learn better methods for driving it.”
“Everybody on our team has given a go at this. It’s especially intuitive for the younger members on our team,” John said with a laugh. “The controller is very intuitive, it’s very similar to video game controllers and the feel of it is good. We did purchase the AV goggles as a second set of eyes.”
At Deep Trekker we pride ourselves on empowering our customers to access the impossible and complete the tough jobs they’ve been dispatched to complete. “We’ve been happy with this so far. It’s versatile for a lot of different applications,” noted John. “It’s better than what we were using before. It’s cool technology to see how it goes up and down without having a ton of thrusters.”
As a proudly Canadian company we were thrilled to hear John mention that “part of the drive is that you’re a Canadian company and accessible.”
We sincerely thank John and the Canadian Canine Search Corps for their time and effort in this story.
As a not for profit organization, the CCSC relies on the generosity of the public to operate. All members from organizational leadership to the canine handlers operate on a voluntary basis. If you are interested in donating to the CCSC, head to their website. All monies donated go directly helping to find and recover the lost and missing in order to help bring closure to their loved ones. You can also learn more about the CCSC on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
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