Eric & Jake The Search Dog

From stray to search dog, Jake's energy and demeanor made him a great candidate to be a search and rescue dog.

Eric + Jake

Jake was brought into the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha, wandering as a stray. When staff noticed his fun energy and love for fetch, they thought he had the potential to assist in search and rescue.

"Jake is able to safely and quickly search the places that I can’t, and that can mean everything for a survivor"

Wilma Melville, founder of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF), and Tim Matthews of the South Dakota Canine Center were coincidentally in the region looking for potential canine candidates. Upon witnessing how Jake had a lot of drive, they decided to proceed with training him.

Jake arrived at the SDF National Training Center in August 2014. He was a quick learner, and easy to be trained. In February 2015, Jake graduated and was partnered with Eric Lieuwen of California Task Force 7 in Sacramento County. The team trained daily and in September 2015, achieved FEMA Certification, which allowed them to deploy whenever a disaster occurs in the nation.

Their first deployment together took place January 2018 in Montecito, CA, where a deadly mudslide had devastated the beachside town. For just over a week, Jake, Eric and 17 other SDF-trained Search Teams slogged through the mud and debris searching for survivors.

Jake the Rescue Dog
Whether mudslides, earthquakes or more, Eric and Jake are ready and committed to assisting in any disaster.

“Jake is able to safely and quickly search the places that I can’t, and that can mean everything for a survivor,” said Eric.
Once a stray, this sweet honest, goofy, and loveable dog is now a vital part of search and rescue.

Every October, Petco Love supports the incredible work of service, therapy, and other working animals who save and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Donate today to support Helping Heroes like Jake.