Search & Rescue Needs in Indigenous Communities with Shelby Homer

In this episode of K9 Conservationists, Kayla speaks with Shelby Homer about search and rescue needs in indigenous communities. 

Science Highlight: ⁠Canine (Canis familiaris) scent detection of invasive brown bullhead catfish (Ameriurus nebulosus) in lake water samples⁠

Links Mentioned in the Episode: 

None

Where to find Shelby: ⁠4Corners Website⁠ | ⁠4Corners Facebook⁠   

You can support the K9 Conservationists Podcast by joining our Patreon at ⁠patreon.com/k9conservationists.⁠

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Transcript (AI-Generated)

Kayla Fratt  00:09

Everyone, yesterday, the US observed Indigenous People’s Day. Conservation has a long and messy history in regards to Indigenous rights historically, and unfortunately, still today. Conservation often involves white folks with fancy degrees parachuting into various parts of the world to get the data that they need that supports their careers and their goals, with little true collaboration with the Indigenous folks who have known, loved, and stewarded the land and its inhabitants for generations. We hope that conversations on this podcast have helped you think a bit more deeply about collaboration, community and conservation in your backyard and beyond.  Today’s episode features Shelby Holmer, who runs the Mako Sica K9 Search and Rescue team to serve reservation communities. Parts of this episode remind us of the generational trauma inflicted upon Native communities through colonization and colonizers from Europe. At the same time, this episode also reminds us of the resilience and self reliance of these communities. No one should have to prove their resilience the way that Indigenous communities have over and over and over again.  I recently moved to Corvallis, Oregon, which is home to the Calapooia peoples, a group of diverse tribes that honestly I know very little about, I’m going to spend this week educating myself. A few of the resources that I’ve explored just in the past month on these topics include finally reading the book Braiding Sweetgrass, which is a book so excruciatingly lovely and loving that I was basically constantly in tears reading it. There’s a great series of episodes from the podcast Behind the Bastards, which go over Christopher Columbus and how precisely awful he was. I didn’t quite realize how much worse than just like kind of your average explorer crazy Columbus was. So if you still feel the need to learn more about colonizers and colonization, and want to celebrate Christopher Columbus in the best way possible, learn about how awful he is. Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant’s podcast Going Wild had an episode recently titled “The Untold Story of California’s Mighty Predator,” which goes in depth on a single topic about a conflict between conservation and Indigenous rights and cultural practices. I also would recommend giving the Instagram account Decolonial Atlas a follow, they’ve got all sorts of fascinating maps about linguistics, land rights, and so much more. There are so many amazing resources out there to continue educating yourself. So I hope you get out and find a medium and a topic that captures your imagination and opens your mind.  And without further ado, let’s get to the episode with Shelby Homer. So before we get into this interview, we are going to be doing our science highlight. So today we read Lauren Hopkins’s thesis for the University of Waikato, which is titled “Canine scent detection of invasive brown bullhead cat fish (Ameriurus nebulosus)  in lake water samples”. So to quote from the paper itself, “Catfish pose a major threat to New Zealand’s freshwater ecosystems preying on and competing with native native species for food, and decreasing water clarity through bioturbation and nutrient release. Early detection of the spread of catfish is crucial as it allows for containment and eradication measures to be set up, preventing the establishment of new catfish populations. However, traditional methods such as visual surveying, netting and electrofishing are time consuming and resource intensive, resulting in high costs and restricting the number of locations that can be surveyed.” So this project recruited four pet dogs for the project, one male and one female three year old Springer Spaniel Border Collie cross, one tell a 10 year old female lab mix and one three year old female lab. To continue quoting from the paper, “The aim of this research was to determine whether domestic dogs could determine the presence of cat fish and lake water samples at a biomass concentration equivalent to 43.5 kilograms per hectare, which is assuming that the water is about two meters deep. A concentration consistent with the estimated population of cat fish in New Zealand lakes -” and I’m sorry for everyone at home at Norbert is chiming in here, my cat/ Continuing the quote, “The first stage of the experiment determined whether dogs could detect the presence of cat fish and dechlorinated water samples out of biomass concentration of again 43.5 kilograms per hectare. Water samples were collected from tanks containing a standard catfish biomass concentration of 15.5 grams per liter,” which is equivalent to 38,700 kilograms per hectare, so obviously a lot more than what you would find in the wild, “and then diluted to 311 kilograms per hectare. As the dogs achieved discrimination criteria the sample concentration was progressively decreased. All three dogs that continued in the project were able to detect the presence of catfish out of biomass concentration of 43.5 kilograms per hectare.And then in the next stage of the experiment, they determined whether domestic dogs could detect the presence of cat fish in lake water samples. So the lake water samples were collected from catfish absent Lake Rotoma and spiked with cat fish aquaria. As the dogs achieved to discrimination criteria, the catfish concentration was again progressively diluted, the majority of the dogs in the study successfully detected the presence of cat fish at the goal biomass. In Lake Water samples, with one dog actually successfully detecting catfish at a concentration equivalent to 1.55 kilograms per hectare, so quite a bit less than the goal. In New Zealand, it’s highly unlikely that significant environmental impacts would occur with catfish biomass at 1.55 kilograms per hectare. However, targeted eradication of a population density of this size would be highly advisable and may be feasibly managed depending on available resources size of the target water body and its connection to other waterways. The findings in the study indicate the potential utility of dogs in early detection and management of invasive freshwater species. According to the theory of generalization, the performance of these dogs may be generalized to different lakes and different biomass equivalent concentrates and without specific training on those lakes or concentrations. However, it would be important to test for this generalization in future research, as differences in stimuli can affect generalization with less generalization occurring as stimuli become increasingly dissimilar from the original stimulus,” so, overall, really cool paper. We are always excited to see stuff where they’re kind of pushing the limits of dogs, particularly working kind of in creative ways with invasives. Or in this case, working with water samples. That’s always something that is tricky. And it’s cool to see people kind of pushing the envelope with this. And one of the things that I did note is they didn’t kind of specifically do any discrimination work kind of making sure that the dogs could tell the difference between catfish and whatever New Zealand’s most closely related freshwater species maybe. But if the dogs were able to detect the cat fish in these training samples, at the lake samples, presumably there was some fish, fish odor in the lake samples that hadn’t had catfish involved. I also be interested in kind of ensuring that they, they hadn’t accidentally trained the dogs to alert to any of their collection materials. That was something I didn’t see where they were doing controls with different container types or, you know, having extracted water from a similar aquarium and put it into the container that didn’t contain a cat fish odor, etc.  But overall really cool stuff, especially for you know, just quote unquote, a thesis. They did a really good job and definitely a paper worth checking out.  Do you want to help support this podcast and meet your learning goals as a conservation detection dog handler? Then sign up for our patreon! For as little as $3 a month you get to support this podcast and earn the perks of asking our guests questions, and joining monthly get togethers online. At higher levels of support, you get even more perks. Kind of the highest level. This includes a private 30 minute coaching call with me over video chat once a month to go over your training goals with your dog in detail. Depending on your level of support. Patrons also get to access a book club and group coaching calls each month. You can see details on all of those tiers on our Patreon website, there’s really no better way to show your love for what we do while also furthering your own career in a flexible, self directed way. Since starting our Patreon we’ve had the absolute joy of watching several of our members go from excited amateurs to paid professional handlers with their dogs. We couldn’t be more proud of them. And it’s such a joy to share knowledge with this amazing community. Join us at patreon.com/k9conservationists. All right, so today I am very excited and grateful to be talking to Shelby Homer about a really important topic we’re talking about indigenous red lead a search and rescue dog programs particularly as it relates to missing and murdered murdered indigenous folk. Well, Shelby welcome to the podcast. I’m really excited to have you here and get to talk to you about such an important topic.

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Shelby Homer  09:14

For sure, it’s my pleasure to be able to educate and have people informed about what’s going on in our communities.

Kayla Fratt  09:25

Yeah, we’re grateful for your time and your expertise. So why don’t we start out with kind of laying the groundwork for anyone who’s not familiar or we have a lot of listeners who aren’t in North America, so they may just not know what is going on with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives at this point. what is that problem? Why is that a problem?

Shelby Homer  09:47

So missing and murdered Indigenous awareness started within maybe the past 20 years or so. But the basis of it is, for over 100 years of Native American tribal members have been taken off reservations and placed in boarding schools across the country. After finishing school, they come back to the reservation. And most of them experienced trauma while off their homelands, and developed like substance abuse, trying to cope with some of the experiences they’ve had. And so therefore, that trauma gets passed on down to generation to generation, and in forms of substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness. And we also battled with, like an identity identity crisis in a way, because we’re having to learn our culture all over again, and language, and still live in modern day society.  So um, a lot of what’s going on is the economy is functional, but limited on on tribal ground. So these tribal members will travel to nearby town cities to find employment to provide for their families. By doing so sometimes they lose communication with family members, or will end up associating with wrong people and turn up missing. And then human trafficking has also become a major problem, along with abductions of young men and women.

Kayla Fratt  11:30

Wow. Yeah. No, and I’m glad that you zoomed out for us and talked about how this is kind of a generational problem that was caused by government policies, and leads to, to this so yeah, so we’ve got a lot of people from Indigenous communities, both on and off reservations, who are going missing, some of them are murdered. So is that where you got your start in the search and rescue because of this problem? Or how did you kind of end up in the world of search and rescue?

Shelby Homer  12:08

So, um, well, how I ended up in the world of search and rescue was, you know, coming to an obedience class, and then finding out that the instructor had had a team, a local team there in the community. So then she seen potential in my dog, and another pup, which happened to be siblings, or litter mates. And the owner and I actually came from the same town by chance, it was crazy coincidence. But that’s how we started our careers in search and rescue. But that was off reservation at the time; we did off reservation search and rescue for quite some years.  But when we started to help, or tried, there was an actual case where a 62 year old woman was abducted in the middle of the night, on June 15 2021. She had resided in Sweetwater, Arizona. So at the time, authorities were out there, doing the work, trying to figure out what happened and we weren’t deployed, of course, because we’re a state organization. But we did reach out to contacts and told them, “Hey, we’re here, you know, we can assist if whenever you need, whenever you just call, we’ll come.” And it was day after day at next, you know, it was like two weeks later, but every day on our local Navajo radio station, I was listening to updates and would get with Bernadine and say, “Oh, this is what they’re doing. This is what’s going on.”  So, at that point, I made a decision to contact the son, and told him who we were, what kind of work we do, what we could bring to the table and he wanted us immediately to come out. Yeah, so I got a hold of Bernadine. We we got a hold of the team, but unfortunately, we were the only ones available at the time. So we went out and we asked them, “Where do you want us? You know, where do you need us to be?” So we went out we helped in some areas around the residence.  But on the drive home, the drive home we thought, “This is a problem.” This is something that’s hitting home for us because, you know, we could have been out right away, like day one, with the dogs and eliminating problematic areas. Like, there was some terrain that was treacherous. There was cliffsides you know, we could have, from day one, could have eliminated so many areas and luckily, you know, they were safe and or they kept safety as a priority and nobody got hurt, you know, because this was all family members that were out there at that time.  So the drive home, we decided, “You know what we’re gonna have to branch off our state team and we’re gonna have to collaborate, something ,where we’re able to cover multiple states, where can we do that? Where can we get that type of training?” Then we realized NASAR is the best way to go.  So I was already living in South Dakota at the time. But then I realized that, you know, we needed to continue this work not only on the Navajo reservation, but in other tribal communities. I got my niece Avery Begay involved and her boyfriend, they came on board, and we started going and the more we were out there helping the more community members and tribal members started to reach out and say, “Hey, you know, had a loved one missing for this long and we don’t know where to start. We don’t know how to conduct the search, you know, where we’ve been talking to investigators, but you know, they’re backed up.”  So we started to just help slowly. And now it’s grown like, and we’re up to 10 members in the Four Corners area, and just this year alone, we we’ve gone on 21 missions I believe. Yeah. And so I really liked to be there boots on the ground and assist with Bernadine. But of course, I’m in South Dakota trying to start the same thing here. You know, and I, I do have meetings with them on a regular and keep ties with them on, like what’s going on the cases, what type of searches they’re going on. So it’s great work, for sure. And we’re making a big difference. And building those connections with law enforcement also in BIA and FBI is so crucial, because in the beginning, it was very hard to get those things going, those relationships going. So we’re definitely better off now than when we first started out two years ago.

Kayla Fratt  17:32

Yeah, yeah. And I want to come back to talking about kind of some of the jurisdictional issues that are really unique to the reservation. But first I want to go back so why don’t you tell us a little bit about Bernadine and your puppies and kind of how Four Corners got started, just to give us a little bit more groundwork on the dogs and, and Four Corners.

Shelby Homer  17:55

So I currently run a German Shepherd dog named Shinka that does air scent and live find. She’s at the age of seven, slowly reaching retirement age and so was her littermate Trigger, who is currently the canine for Bernadine, my teammate. Although we were open to different types of disciplines, our cultural differences kind of made it difficult to do HRD or human remains or any other type of discipline.  So in our culture, it’s a bad omen to purchase pets. So when we first started, we had a friend that had these puppies, and that’s where we got them from. She actually worked with Bernadine and then worked with my ex-husband at the time. So that’s how we got the puppies. So a lot of times we end up bartering or trading something of value in order to get pets, whether it’s a cat dog, pony, goat, you know, that type of thing. So, um, in my culture, it’s also a bad omen to have human remains or living or dead. We decided the only way to participate in this canine search and rescue team would be to commit to a live find discipline. But that is going to change now, you know, since a majority of our deployments are recovering subjects, instead of rescuing. And then we recently found that product that absorbs odor without having to handle or store human remains. And that’s going to make a tremendous impact on being able to assist families.

Kayla Fratt  19:48

Yeah, that’s huge. I love the way that technology is coming together for that because yeah, I mean, if you’re, if your culture doesn’t allow you to handle or store human remains, which is very reasonable. But you want to be able to help your community those. Yeah, those tubes are going to be really, really amazing for that. So then tell us a little bit more about kind of the jurisdictional issues that are particular to reservations. I know it’s not uncommon to kind of have problems with getting search and rescue canine teams out fast enough. But it seems like that’s a particular pain point for you guys at this point.

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Shelby Homer  20:31

Oh, definitely. So the jurisdictional issues surface from the sovereign nation being within a nation, and there’s always that disconnect, and communication, or I honestly think that it could be better, you know, that we’re able to work together as a unit to to have that open book when it comes to people missing or things happening within the community where we’re needing assistance to further get justice, that type of thing. So that’s why a lot of times when a state team or like a team that’s within a city gets deployed by either sheriff’s department or state police. For whatever reason, the reservation is different. It’s like dealing with like another country almost sometimes. So yeah. It’s just a matter of working towards building those relationships, and not maybe taking offense to the possible outcome. You know, sometimes people are so used to their own way of doing things that they’re not willing to change. You know, they’re so comfortable. Yeah, therefore, I think that once, once things start to change, and we’re able to adjust, I think it’d be better off for everybody.

Kayla Fratt  22:12

Yeah, it seems like you’re in a tough spot with, you know, having live find dogs, which really, that means you need to be getting out there as soon as someone is identified as missing, because, you know, every hour that they’re out there the chance that they are still alive and are still findable, you know, especially if we’re talking about human trafficking, you know, these people are they’re going in cars, I would assume most of the time. So you really have to be able to work fast. And it seems like those jurisdictional issues are getting in the way. And then you know, you’ve you’ve said, sounds like your next talk might be HRD, where time is less of the emphasis, but we’re still talking about, you know, really remote areas with, you know, all sorts of predators and other things that could still make it extremely challenging if you’re not able to get out there quickly to make a recovery.

Shelby Homer  23:02

Oh, definitely. So even the environmental aspect of it versus whether, like you said, animals, you know, there’s so many animals, there’s bears, and you name it, they’re out there and moving things around? Because that’s their element, you know, and we’re just visitors. Yeah. And so, things change so, so fast.

Kayla Fratt  23:28

Yeah, definitely. So yeah, so it sounds like I mean, it seems like you guys are keeping very busy with 21 deployments. We’re already on August, we’re only on August 3. So there’s still, what, four full months left in the year. That’s, that’s a lot. So what are the other gaps that you’re seeing in, you know, kind of helping indigenous communities address these needs? You know, what else do you need? What, uh, what are you looking forward to?

Shelby Homer  23:58

I did make contact with a lot of advocates, MMIP groups that assist families and victims. And believe it or not, I get the most support out of these people. And they, they’re so comfortable, and they’re so eager to learn about search and rescue. So I’m really looking forward to making more connections with these people so that we’re able to assist families directly. I do support law enforcement. I know that they’re overwhelmed and overworked and I completely understand where they’re coming from. But then again, you know, we still have the work to do so.  I’m super excited about making these connections with these people and continuing to grow. I’ve actually just started working with our local emergency management department. And so I’m super excited about that. Because then I’m able to get volunteers or find people that are interested in wanting to learn more about search and rescue and ICS systems and framework and because that’s so crucial to finding these people, making sure that we’re able to do it productively and safely, so that we’re able to give that subject or victim justice. You know, it’s all about seeing preservation and not tampering with evidence, you know, and so a lot of these families have members just out there not knowing what to look for not knowing what to do when they come across something, whether it’s a subject or article or, you know, a scene, so it’s going to be amazing to work with people that I’m wanting to learn.

Kayla Fratt  26:03

Yeah, it seems like training, and getting that kind of community resilience and self sufficiency, up and running is going to be so huge, because, again, I mean, between all these jurisdictional issues between the fact that reservations are often just, you know, they’re far from urban centers, in most cases. Yeah, being able to have more training and self sufficiency coming from within the community is going to be beneficial on so many levels.

Shelby Homer  26:33

Oh, definitely.

Kayla Fratt  26:36

So, we’ve got a couple questions from patrons here. So Joanna asked whether or not you prefer, like local or – yeah, basically, local breeds for this sort of work. Like if there are kind of breeds or groups of dogs that are native to, you know, the Navajo reservations or anything like that? Is that what’s preferred? Or what sort of dogs are you working with?

Shelby Homer  27:01

Actually, there’s no preference in type of dogs. No, of course, we deal with terrains that are very remote and desolate. A lot of the Navajo reservation is desert. So having to find a dog that’s able to withstand and be active within those environments is very crucial. But, you know, we were very open to different types of breeds of dogs. We just so happened to end up with German Shepherds. And so far, they’ve been working great. You know, even in the desert, they’re, like, Trigger. He’s huge. You know, he’s like, 80 plus pounds or something, but he does great. You know, in my dog, she’s actually like, 50 pounds, she’s pretty petite. And she moves very well out in the field, so we’re always open to different breeds.

Kayla Fratt  28:01

Yeah, yeah, that sounds similar to what we do as long as the dog has the drive to do the job and physically is capable of doing the job comfortably and safely then, yeah, well, we’ll take anything. So you kind of touched on this. It sounds like the Navajo reservation. Yeah, we’ve got desert canyons, cacti heat. And I know you know, we’ve got reservations from you know, corner to corner of this, this country. And we’re, you know, we’re obviously being pretty US centric in this podcast, because you and I are both US based. So what are some of the environmental or search conditions that you all encounter that may require special considerations or training?

Shelby Homer  28:42

I believe like the more wooded areas, more mountain terrains. We are considering getting some like rope training to be able to go down cliffs that up those type of environments we’re very unfamiliar with. So we’re, we’re looking towards that. And we actually like where I’m at right now is more grassland and hilly, we do have some woodland and desert type of areas. But for the most part where I’m at, it’s, it’s pretty moderate, you know, where we’re able to get in and out of places, safely.

Kayla Fratt  29:29

Yeah, that’s nice. And again, I’m sure it varies a little bit. The only the only missing persons search I’ve ever been part of was I volunteered for a search for a missing indigenous woman up in Montana and there, you know, I just remember kind of standing on the edge of the road looking at the transect that I was supposed to walk that just went like straight into the forest down into a river valley and then back up a hill again. And you know, it was one of those things where I think we had all day to try to walk like a mile they had tons and tons of people out because we’re trying to walk like a meter or two apart and really do this, like intense.

Shelby Homer  30:03

Oh my gosh, you guys were doing a grid search.

Kayla Fratt  30:05

Yeah. And I just remember looking at this and being like, God, I wish I had my dog and that my dog actually know how to do this sort of thing. Because this is going to be terrible. And it was. But you know, we were able to, you know, with the training that they gave us, like, hopefully clear that area and say, “Okay, we had people touch pretty much every square inch of this, and there’s nothing here.” But it was it was intense and daunting, like looking out there and thinking, Gosh, that that woman had been missing for I think two years to the day, which is why there was such a big effort out that day. Yeah, you know, with the Grizzlies and the snow and wolves and black bears, and, you know, pine Martens, like, it doesn’t even have to be a big scary thing that, you know, just felt like it’s a real needle in the haystack situation.

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Shelby Homer  30:55

Oh, definitely. We deal with that all the time. And the biggest part, too, is not having enough information. You know, not having a last point known or last point seen. Those type of crucial questions are never answered sometimes. And it’s like, where do you start? Where Where do you what you don’t want to tell them know, that you can. But you know, you try to this puzzle piece, everything that you can together just to give some hope to them just to give some comfort? In some ways, you know, I’m here to help you at least try and make effort. So.

Kayla Fratt  31:43

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And that was, I think that particular woman was last seen at a bar. So obviously, we weren’t searching, you know, we knew she wasn’t there anymore. And, you know, it was in Missoula. So you know, then we’re, yeah, we’re just kind of looking around Montana. And obviously, the the investigators are a little bit more organized than this. But you know, kind of looking around Montana being like, well, it’s the fourth biggest state in the country.

Shelby Homer  32:08

Yeah.

Kayla Fratt  32:08

There weren’t any state lines crossed, but like, Okay, where is reasonable to search? And where do we have reason to check? And, you know, when you’ve got a big push with that many volunteers, or, you know, dog teams or anything like that, how do you? How do you direct them appropriately? It’s, I mean, it’s a gargantuan task.

Shelby Homer  32:25

Oh, definitely. We’ve had to adjust so much, you know, we, we we’ve learned a certain type of way of doing search and rescue from textbook, right. But when you get out there in the field, and there’s places like this, like, of course, on the reservation, it’s it’s real remote. There’s not a lot of information. Where do you start? Where do you pinpoint things? So strategy has definitely had to change when it came to searching for individuals here.

Kayla Fratt  33:01

Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, again, it’s just it’s such a sudden, intense, or endeavor to partake in. So the last question I’ve got written down here is from Jackie, and she asks, How dog people can help getting involved with the missing and murdered indigenous relatives movement, or, you know, is activism helpful? Can they join search and rescue communities? Is there anything that people can do remotely if they want to try to help out but don’t live near a reservation?

Shelby Homer  33:35

Yeah. Yeah, for sure, um, people can assist in many different ways. You know, just, obviously, you see these flat, you’ll see these flyers going around, and you’ll see activism, you know, there’s all types of get togethers, parades, or just getting together to help assist families in their in their time of grieving, being able to make those connections and support in that way would be great too. And if you are in the search and rescue field, you know, reaching out to the tribal law enforcement or maybe some emergency management programs within the the reservation and offer assistance and let them know what you’re able to bring to the table is is definitely important and would be much appreciated, I’m sure.

Kayla Fratt  34:37

Yeah, no, of course, it seems like you know, building connections and just seeing, seeing where you can help and coming and you know, offering your skills and that sounds like exactly what you’re doing. And then it also sounds like you know, be prepared for it to be a long road to actually get out there. You know, you’re not going to show up with your business card and get to go out and save the day. The next day.

Shelby Homer  34:58

Definitely is time consuming, and I still deal with problems, you know, when it comes to making those connections with like local law enforcement, I tell them that I’m here to assist, and I still have not yet been utilized to help with searches, and there’s been a couple actually, here, not too far from where I’m at. And every time I reach out or reach out, like, Hey, I’m here, I’m willing to help, but it never happens.

Kayla Fratt  35:33

Yeah, that’s got to be frustrating, and challenging. And, yeah, they have put so much time and effort into helping train your dog and train yourself to try to help help your community and then to not be able to be called in in time or not be called in at all.

Shelby Homer  35:53

Yeah, so I’ve kind of switched gears since then. And that’s why I’m working with more MMIW groups, that emergency management program, people that are willing to make the efforts and dedicate some time to learning and wanting to improve their skills when it comes to search and rescue. So I’ve really had to juggle some things and make those priorities known that this is something that’s very important to do. versus me just going out being a resource, a canine resource. I feel that it’s better that we have more team members, rather than just going out with my dog.

Kayla Fratt  36:41

Yeah, of course. Because yeah, I think, you know, one of the big things you can do with the dog and really with search and rescue in general is go out and confirm where someone isn’t. But the more boots you’ve got on the ground, the better I would imagine. So is there anything that you wanted to expand on or clarify or that I didn’t ask you about that you wanted to come back to?

Shelby Homer  37:04

Yeah, so um, you know, there was, I believe, a question about sensitivity. Are there areas of sensitivity, like when, let’s say, a local search and rescue team comes in assists on a reservation, like what questions you should be asking what should you know, I do believe that there’s cultural sensitivities. And there are still ceremonial areas that are still active today. So when we have to go out and search, we still have to keep in mind that there are sensitivities when it comes to stepping on certain grounds are approaching certain places, and respect, respectfully, asking, you know, permission is always good and courteous, about places that you’re not familiar with. And just, you know, when you’re when you’re living around indigenous communities, kind of educating yourself on those cultural practices would be great, too, because it shows that you’ve made those initiatives to to learn, and it’s very respected, in a sense. So I think that’s very important. And it’s very important for other people to know that.

Kayla Fratt  38:32

Yeah, I mean, you’re dealing with the fact that someone is missing a loved one, it’s, you know, the least you can do is come in with respect and humility and ask permission and be willing to learn and, you know, try to do some research ahead of time to expect to know what to expect and to know, you know, oh my gosh, okay, if I see anything that looks like pottery, I shouldn’t pick it up. Or, yeah, just even knowing if there’s any, you know, I suppose people probably wouldn’t know all of these things, any, you know, on their first tribe, their first time out, but if you are routinely working in an area, you know, getting to know what is of cultural significance, or what certain symbols may be important, I would imagine would also be really helpful.

Shelby Homer  39:23

Oh, definitely. Yeah. For sure. Yeah, absolutely. Right.

Kayla Fratt  39:28

Yeah. Okay. Well, yeah. Anything else then Shelby?

Shelby Homer  39:35

I don’t believe so.

Kayla Fratt  39:37

Hey, well, everyone at home. Thank you so much for listening. Shelby, where can people find your organization’s online and is there any way that people don’t know if your nonprofit can people donate if they’re so inclined?

Shelby Homer  39:53

So as of right now, 4 Corners K9 Search and Rescue is a nonprofit organization. We’ll be having their website up shortly. They probably by the end of August, the website should be up. But we are on Facebook and Instagram and then my organization Mako Sica K9 Search and Rescue is also on Facebook and Instagram.

Kayla Fratt  40:23

Excellent. And we’ll be sure to link all of that in the show notes. So don’t crash your car trying to take notes right now. And as always, you can find everything else you need in the show notes as well. We’ve got transcripts, we’re working on getting summaries written up as well for every episode, so you don’t have to read the whole transcript or listen to the whole episode. I don’t know why you don’t want to listen to the episode, but you don’t have to. And you can always find, you know, mugs and T shirts and lunchboxes and all sorts of great stuff, as well as sign up for our Patreon and our course all at k9conservationists.org. We’ll be back next week.