"My Life has gone to the dogs, but in a good way,” said Suzie Ferguson at special dinner meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Great Smokies Chapter, held May 9, 2008. During the past ten years Suzie and her husband, Roy, have raised and trained eight puppies for use in the Leader Dogs for the Blind organization (www.leaderdog.org), through the Sevierville Lions Club. They kept two of the puppies they raised, Schatzie and Cherokee. Suzie and Roy then became involved with the H.A.B.I.T. program, founded twenty-one years ago by the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. The Human-Animal Bond In Tennessee (H.A.B.I.T.) program (www.vet.utk.edu/habit) is a community group of volunteers working together to explore the circumstances and consequences of the human-animal bond and to promote this valuable bond between people and animals. Shortly after Suzie and Roy became involved with the HABIT program, they became handlers for the Tennessee Special Response Team-A (TN SRT-A), Inc., a charitable, non-profit search and rescue organization.
In recognition of her outstanding community service, Suzie was second place winner of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), Southeast Division, Community Service Award. There are only two awards presented by an NSDAR chapter each year. Community Services Award recipients are recognized for contributions to the community in an outstanding manner for voluntary heroic, civic, or benevolent service.
In addition to training and being available for search and rescue “call-outs,” Suzie participates in community education about the TN SRT-A, Leader Dogs for the Blind, and the HABIT programs. She has presented many programs highlighting the organizations’ activities and service events.
“The most valuable thing I can give is my time,” Suzie said during the talk she gave at the DAR dinner held in the Pigeon Forge Community Center. She explained that her involvement with these programs has enriched her life and the dogs she has trained have taught her many life lessons.
As a Canine Search Specialist, Suzie, Roy, and their dogs are an efficient team trained to work in conjunction with other organizations in charge of a rescue or to command a search. Tennessee SRT-A handlers are instructed and trained in evidence preservation by Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified instructors. They are trained to assist in water and building rescue. The dogs are proficient in tracking/trailing, air scenting, and human remains detection on both land and in the water. Breeds currently being utilized are German shepherds, golden retrievers, and bloodhound, as well as mixed breeds.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.