Skip To Content

    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.


    AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam

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


    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.


    AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool

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


    Rick Wilking / Reuters

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


    AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

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


    Pool / Reuters

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


    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.


    AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, Pool

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


    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.


    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.


    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.


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


    AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

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


    Rick Wilking / Reuters

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


    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.


    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.


    AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool

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


    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.


    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.