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Taiwan earthquake: ‘Roger,’ overly playful dog who failed police academy, becomes star of quake response


Taipei, Taiwan
CNN

A Labrador retriever who failed to become a drug-sniffing dog because he was too friendly and playful has won hearts in Taiwan for his detection work following last week’s 7.4 magnitude earthquake .

Rescue dogs play a crucial role in helping locate stranded people and bodies, and teams of skilled dogs were quickly deployed by Taiwanese authorities after last Wednesday’s deadly quake.

The earthquake that struck the island’s east coast, the strongest Taiwan has seen in 25 years, triggered deadly landslides in a picturesque national park and caused the partial collapse of several buildings.

Roger, 8, was among the dogs put to work, helping locate the body of one of the 13 people killed in the quake, according to authorities and local media.

He and his handlers ventured onto the badly damaged Shakadang Trail in Taroko National Park and found the body of a missing 21-year-old woman, according to Taiwan’s official news agency (CNA).

While other dogs also played similar roles and were paraded before the media, Roger captured the island’s imagination, in part because of his story of initial failure in his career.

Roger was born in a drug-sniffing dog training center. But his love for fun, food and people got the better of him, distracting his ability to pay attention and respond to his trainers’ commands, CNA reported.

As a result, Roger failed to become a drug detective.

But his exuberant personality and intelligence made him a much better candidate to become a rescue dog, a career that was later chosen for him.

This enthusiasm was on full display during a media interview with his handler when Roger, wagging his tail, lunged at a reporter’s microphone.

Roger is playing with his toy on the lawn.

Chen Chih-san, captain of the Kaohsiung Fire Department’s rescue dog unit, told reporters that Roger was transferred to the rescue training school when he was 1 year old.

“I’m not saying he wasn’t good or didn’t get along with others. But the requirement for drug detection dogs is that they should not be too restless and independent,” Chen said.

“But (those attributes) are what we want in rescue dogs.”

Dogs have brought much-needed relief to Taiwan’s social media following the earthquake.

“Keep it up, heroes and little heroes,” one person wrote. Another said: “Roger is the pride of Taiwan. »

Roger is now an earthquake veteran. CNA said he has participated in seven operations during his career, including an initial mission following a deadly 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the same region in 2018.

According to the Kaohsiung city government, Roger was certified by the International Rescue Dog Organization in 2022, a distinction last achieved by a Taiwanese rescue dog in 2019.

But retirement is approaching for Roger, with the Kaohsiung Fire Department sending the rescue dogs to a suitable home once they reach the age of 9, CNA said, citing Chen.

News Source : www.cnn.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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