Chaos was born on Father’s Day, June
15th, 2003. Chaos was owned by Diana Akeret. He was a very active
and intense Border Collie whose life revolved around playing ball
(how unusual for a BC!). Throughout his SAR training, his hunt and
play drive luckily outweighed his cautiousness. We did have our
challenges along the way. For example, it seemed like forever before
he would bark at his subject. Chaos was my first Border Collie and
first experience training an air-scent SAR dog, so it was a work
in progress for us both. And as usual, the learning curve was longer
for the handler than the K9! After 5 years of SAR training with
Palisades, 2 weeks of training in Colorado with a FEMA Dog Handler/Trainer,
four 20-acre assessments of progress, independent evaluations at
PSARC SAR-EX, and numerous practices with local law enforcement
K9 handlers, Civil Air Patrol members, family, friends, and any
person willing to hide in the woods…..we finally passed our
80-acre mission ready test on February 15, 2009!
In June of 2009, we completed Andy Rebmann’s
Human Remains Detection Seminar in Philippi, WV. Chaos loved working
human remains as much as live scent. We got out on a few missing
persons searches soon after: one in Bensalem, PA and the other in
Island Beach State Park, NJ. Chaos fell ill the evening after his
2 day search at Island Beach. A portion of a food-filled toy that
was found and swallowed in WV had become lodged in his intestine.
A delay in X-raying his abdomen further compromised his intestine.
He made it through the first surgery, but complications the next
day required a second. Chaos died of heart failure during his second
abdominal surgery on July 30th, 2009.
His loss was felt by all who had the privilege
of knowing him and working with him. He is most deeply missed by
me and his younger brother, Riot. My fondest memories are watching
him work and of his attentiveness: when I’d say, “hey
Chaos” he’d trot over, approach nose to nose, ears up,
eyes focused, with a head cock to the side as if to say, “What?”.
I have had a number of dogs in my life, but I have never learned
as much from one dog, as I did from Chaos: both in his life and
in his death. His life and SAR career were cut too short, but what
he shared will last forever. Long live the spirit, energy, drive,
joy and enthusiasm that is my SAR Dog, Chaos.