Meet some of the K9 members of the Mountain Wave Search and Resc - KPTV - FOX 12

Meet some of the K9 members of the Mountain Wave Search and Rescue team

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Clara the Bloodhound (KPTV) Clara the Bloodhound (KPTV)
MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR (KPTV) -

When someone goes missing in the Portland metro area, chances are, the Mountain Wave Search and Rescue K9 team is involved in trying to track them down.

The team says they're so busy right now, they've already been called out more than 100 times already this year.  

There are few things in life you can count on. 

Those who know Clara the Bloodhound say her nose is one of those things. 

"We've been on well over 100 missions together, she is used very frequently," said handler Becky Irving. 

Deputies all across the region know Clara by name. She's the hound they want on the case of any missing person they are looking for.

Her track record is near perfect. Her nose, so dependable, she's considered a witness in criminal cases. Cases which Irving tells Fox 12 she can't talk about, because they're still ongoing.

"Bloodhounds are one of the only dogs allowed in a court case, so what a Bloodhound says is documentation," said Irving.

Fox 12 followed around Clara while she was training with Irving. She did so by following the scent of a volunteer down the street, around the corner, through a parking lot and into some trees.

She found the volunteer in a matter of minutes. And it's something she does over and over again for just water. 

"Her reward is actually a bottle of water," laughed Irving. "And she loves it."

Clara is one of many K9's the Mountain Wave Search and Rescue Ream uses when they're called out to find someone.

A dog is trained to track any human scent, a specific human scent, or the smell of human remains to just about anywhere their nose leads them. 

"They're about seven times faster than we are," said volunteer and handler Tim Brown. "Their noses are so much more acute to smells we can't detect. It's like having an awesome hammer at the end of your hand, it's a great tool."

The goal is to find someone in time. But, that doesn't always happen. 

K9 Nexus and handler Scott Lee are the ones called out when things switch to a recovery mission. 

"It's hard and it's sad," said Lee. "But, it's a great feeling to bring closure to a situation."

Nexus is trained to follow the scent of human remains. Something he's learned to track by sniffing out these jars of human tissue.  Nexus trains for real life missions by finding those jars of tissue scattered at random all over fields. 

He's trained to sit every time he's found one.

So far this year, the nonprofit says they've been called out to some 105 missions and counting. Chances are you've heard about the big searches they've been a part of on Mt. Hood, or most recently the search for missing teen Emma Beggs

"It can be a second job no doubt, and it can be tough and taxing on people's families but its addicting," said Brown.

But, more often than not, the group of volunteers say they find endangered people before the public has any idea they're missing. 

"Often times people don't hear that grandma walked away from care facility, but we're out there looking for them and locating them before the news even gets wind of it," said Irving. 

The feeling of finding the missing is a rush that propels the team to drop everything and go at a moment's notice, fully knowing every second counts. 

"We train so much together you realize that you're putting your life in their hands and you're doing the same thing with theirs," said Brown. "This is a strong team, and there's a lot of emotion with this, but that's good. We're driven to help."

The Mountain Wave Search and Rescue Team is a nonprofit that runs solely off of donations and grants.  

To learn more about the work they do and how you can support their mission visit: www.mwave.org

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