20 Courageous Dogs Helping With The Washington Mudslide Search

These little heroes are essential. Updated April 3, 11:30 p.m. ET.

AP Photo/The Herald, Mark Mulligan, Pool

Since the deadly mudslide hit Saturday, rescue dogs have been at the site helping with the search mission.

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AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam

The death toll from the mudslide has risen to 30, officials said.

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Pool / Reuters

Out of the 30 bodies found, 27 have been identified and their families notified. Crews note the task is especially difficult, as they do not always find complete remains.

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AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool

Twenty FEMA canine teams from task forces around the country arrived to assist with search efforts on Thursday.

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Rick Wilking / Reuters

The new dogs will be integrated into the search starting on Friday, and will augment the existing dog teams.

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AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Everyone aiding the search mission has endured cold and windy conditions, which have slowed efforts throughout the week.

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Pool / Reuters

On Sunday, after working long hours in challenging terrain, many of the dogs were given a two-day break, rescue crews said.

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Rick Wilking / Reuters

It was also reported on Sunday two dogs suffered from hypothermia, while more veterinarians were brought in to help the other dogs stay in good shape.

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AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, Pool

Officials warned that the rescue dogs can lose their keen sense of smell if overworked.

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AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, Pool

The dogs can smell up to 10 feet deep, but the debris field is as deep as 75 feet in some areas.

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Rick Wilking / Reuters

Dogs that arrived at the site more recently from FEMA will continued the search, said Heidi Amrine, another spokeswoman for the operation.

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Pool / Reuters

“The conditions on the slide field are difficult, so this is just a time to take care of the dogs,” said Kris Rietmann, a spokeswoman for the team working on the eastern portion of the mudslide.

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Searchers must contend with challenging conditions, including septic tanks and propane containers, as well as heavy rains.

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AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Rain returned on Thursday afternoon and is expected to continue through Sunday, making conditions even more difficult.

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Rick Wilking / Reuters

Tryon the rescue dog after searching for victims at the site of the mudslide.

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Rick Wilking / Reuters

Tryon the rescue dog is walked to the decontamination area, where all rescue dogs are hosed off by hazardous materials crews before they leave the site.

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AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool

Rescue dog Nexus, muddy from working onsite, waits to be decontaminated via hose at the west side of the mudslide.

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AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool

Nexus is decontaminated with a hose after leaving the west side of the mudslide.

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AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool

Crews have also been working to clear the highway by moving piles of mud, splintered wood, and housing insulation.

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AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool

Workers were also able to clear a makeshift road that links the debris area, which is about 300 acres.

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