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Dutch Canine Heroes: The Veterinary Rescue Dog Team (In Dutch)    
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Today’s Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants will be presented in Dutch, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

Search and rescue dogs serve on the frontlines locating people missing after natural disasters, lost children, injured hikers and others, being ready at a moment’s notice to bravely endure the elements and save lives. Supreme Master Ching Hai, world renowned humanitarian, artist and spiritual teacher, speaks of her admiration and concern for these devoted canines.

And I saw many dogs, you know, they used for rescue mission. Oh, they just walk in like nothing, but I feel so bad about them.

The dogs walk in the sharp, broken glasses or anything like that, even chemical leaking or anything, or germs or danger.

And these are precious dogs. They have been trained for years. And they even lay down their life for anyone at command. You have to protect that dog.

To show Her loving support for search dogs and their human partners, Supreme Master Ching Hai has generously contributed over US$80,000 to search-and-rescue teams in 18 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Panama, the Philippines, Slovenia, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA.

Today’s program features one of these courageous teams, the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team (VRT) from the Netherlands. The VRT is a professional search-and-rescue unit made up of teams of well-trained canines and their devoted human partners. Begun by a group of young veterinarians, the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team assists local police and fire departments in searching for lost or missing persons in urban areas, fields, woods and even underwater.

The VRT Rescue Dog Team was founded by students at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands) who were studying veterinary medicine.

Besides our very busy job as veterinarians, we have found this passion in our free time. We do spend a lot of time doing this, but we truly love spending time with our dogs.

At this moment eight dogs can be used. Then there are still three or four on their way to becoming useable (for searches). So they are being trained, so that they can come with us. Then we have a bigger group to work with of course, to look for missing people.

The Veterinary Rescue Dog Team’s heroic work also includes emergency relief activities such as searching for survivors after earthquakes, floods, avalanches, hurricanes, gas explosions, and other disasters.

Our people were in Turkey in 1999 during the earthquake there. They were able to do excellent work there of course. In the Netherlands, we do conduct around 10 search operations per year because of compassion to help people and, of course, to work with the dogs, which is our big passion.

John Dirkse, a volunteer for the organization, now describes how the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team begins their missing person searches.

I look on the Internet whether people are missing. There are of course all press releases where this does appear. As soon as we become aware of such a press release on the Internet we make contact with the related police department. We offer our services completely voluntarily. Often the police departments say, “Yes, please!” Because with our dogs, our dogs can search very big pieces of land in a relatively short amount of time.

Then I send a kind of text message – alert to all our people and I say, “We have a search now, please call me.” As soon as that is taken care of, and people start calling, then I communicate where they are expected to go. Often it is a police station, so we get a short briefing by the related police department about who is missing and where, and what we have to look for.

With their acute senses and great agility, canines are invaluable in urgent search-and-rescue missions.

In the Netherlands, the emergency services sometimes don’t know that we are available with our dogs. Often we can save them a lot of work simply because these dogs can search big areas in a short amount of time. And often you see that once we have been asked by a brigade and they have seen how we work, they are all convinced and very excited in fact about the way we work, the serious way we work with dogs.

All dogs have a police dog certificate. We of course have to accomplish this. The dogs should be able to say, “Nobody is laying here,” when we are searching somewhere.

Veterinary Rescue Dog Team members have to be certified before they can go on official search-and-rescue missions. In order to become qualified, both the human and canine members undergo rigorous training, which includes many long, arduous hours of practice, all to ensure they are ready to serve effectively in emergency rescue operations.

What you will see now is part of a search. Now we simulate a search operation. And it is the intention that the dog now looks independently for that victim. Normally, we make it a success with the dog. Now the dog will have to search independently for the victim. This is of course only a small part of such a search operation. Often, we are in the forest for many days. This way you get an idea of what searching with dogs entails, let us say of course, it is a team. The goal is of course that in principle the dog finds the victim. But you do work very closely as a team. So the dog thinks that we do it together.

When we return, we’ll find out what quality marks those dogs who are most successful in search-and- rescue work. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants and our program featuring the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team from the Netherlands. Vicky Geurts, one of the 15 human volunteers who comprise the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team, now shares with us what has inspired the group to perform their selfless service through the years.

I wanted to do something useful with my dog. I wanted to do something meaningful for my fellow human beings. And yes, my dog is qualified to search for people. Yes, it gives me a lot of satisfaction if indeed we find people. I was there a few years ago at the earthquake in Turkey. The dogs also found victims there. What I especially remember is that the family was very happy that we found them. And yes, it really does something to you. And yes… that is also the driving force to keep doing this work.

The Veterinary Rescue Dog Team canines are both wonderful working partners and life-long friends, much beloved and trusted by their human caregivers.

Now you already see a big smile appearing. He is really my close friend as well. We also try, if possible, to start the training when the dogs are seven weeks old, of course they are just very little puppies then. The dog is then you can say “fresh.” We know of course for which purpose we have to train them. At home and during the training itself, this occupies us every day.

The dog is definitely important for us, especially during the search operations, because without dogs we cannot perform any searches. So it creates a bond between you and your dog. And yes, it is impossible to tell you how important that dog is to me.

With deep gratitude and respect, our Dutch Association members presented the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team with US$1,000 from Supreme Master Ching Hai to go toward the care of their lovely, selfless canine heroes. Along with the monetary contribution, the group also received several of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s #1 international bestsellers including, “The Dogs in My Life” and “The Noble Wilds.” On behalf of the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team, John Dirkse expressed the group’s deep appreciation to Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Supreme Master Ching Hai, we want to thank you very much on behalf of the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team for this amazing donation of US$1,000, and we will make sure that this US$1,000 will be spent wisely on our dogs. Thank you!

Thank you very much. I should say we receive it with a lot of gratitude. And we will use this money to buy dog shoes. We frequently notice that when our dogs walk in rubble areas, their feet can get damaged. They get deep cuts and so on. These dogs are our buddies and they are working for us. So we want to protect them as much as we can.

What is left of the money we are going to use to get a sonar. This is meant for when we search in the water, searching with this sonar, we are able to look underwater, whether there might be victims, for instance. We have been saving money for quite some time, so your donation is more than welcome. So truly, thank you very much!

Following Supreme Master Ching Hai’s kind contribution and encouragement, Mr. Eric Hendriks, Chairman of the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team sent a letter to inform Master of their unwavering commitment to continuing their noble work. The following is an excerpt from the letter. Dear Supreme Master Ching Hai, The VRT locates people (dead or alive) who are missing. This can be in urban areas, in the woods, in open areas or in the water.

In case of disasters and people missing they work together with the civil authorities and their services like the police and the fire brigade. In this water-rich land, searching with a boat is very common. This is usually a very difficult job for our dogs… However, before we ask the divers of the fire brigade to go search the area more accurately, we would like to have a little more certainty about what lies beneath the water’s surface.

Therefore, we are currently in need of a sonar to search water areas more accurately following the alerts of our dogs. Thanks to your donation we are one step closer to the necessary purchase of the sonar. Again, thank you very much for this gift!

Learning of the need for the sonar device, Supreme Master Ching Hai is lovingly providing an additional gift of €3,000 for the purchase of this essential equipment.

May Providence bless and protect the human and canine members of the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team as well as similar groups around the world, who lovingly dedicate their time and energy to protect and save the lives of others. We wish Mr. Dirkse and other team members all success in future search and rescue operations.

For more details on the Veterinary Rescue Dog Team, please visit

Thank you for joining us on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. May Heaven always be within your heart.
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