“When law enforcement officials in the Bay Area of California need help gathering clues for unsolved murders and other crimes, they turn to search-and-rescue dogs like Tanis, an II-year-old “Boxer, and her younger partner in training, Deja Vu, a 2-year-old Boxer.
This crime-solving duo is owned by Rhonda Dyer of San Jose, California. “Tanis brings a huge amount of experience and a talent for avoiding wasted movement when she is called upon to search places for evidence, such as body fluids, murder weapons and other items,” says Dyer. Tanis is believed to be the country’s third Boxer certified to perform search-and-rescue. She is certified for wilderness, water and cadaver searches.
Although she is getting older and losing some of her hearing, Tanis proves she is still valuable in helping solve crimes. In 2001, she participated in a homicide investigation in nearby Oakland. While sniffing and searching inside a firebombed house, Tanis led investigators to the murdered body of a woman stuffed inside a freezer.”
“Tanis enjoys the deductive reasoning of these scent puzzles,” says Dyer. “She is able to focus enough to walk into a room with scents all over and tell me where the specific source is. Sometimes the body fluids may be on the underside of a carpet. She is pretty amazing.
” Tanis’ most famous case was also her first-the 1993 kidnapping and murder of Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old girl abducted at knifepoint from her bedroom slumber party in Petaluma, California. Tanis’ job was to search areas to prove that there was no indication of human remains.
Her sniffing skills led to the identification of the vehicle used in the kidnapping. “Tanis uses an alert method,” explains Dyer. “She carries a leather bringsel, and when she finds something to show me, like a live person or body fluids, she picks up the bringsel in her mouth and comes to me.
I say, ‘Show me’ and she takes me to the place where the evidence is.” A bringsel is a mouthpiece, usually hanging from a collar, which the dog holds to indicte it’s found something during a search-and-rescue operation.Deja Vu, who brings plenty of energy and willingness to learn to each assignment, represents a third generation of search-and-rescue Boxers for Dyer.
Dyer’s first SAR Boxer, Juba, toiled as a high-energy, extremely intelligent dog in wilderness and urban disaster searches for nearly 10 years before dying in 1996.
She helped locate fatalities in the famous October 17, 1989, earthquake that shook the San Francisco Bay area and in a major fire storm that ravaged Oakland Hills in 1991. “Deja Vu’s sense of smell, I believe, is incredible,” assesses Dyer.
“At 5 weeks of age, she could follow the scent of a biscuit I moved across the floor. She was certified in April 2002 as a trailing dog by the California Rescue Dog Association.” Dyer says some people are surprised to see Boxers in search-and-rescue work, which is typically dominated by Labrador Retrievers. “Boxers may not be an easy choice for a first-time dog owner because of their intelligence and stubbornness, but I’ve been blessed to have three exceptional Boxers that are truly helping people,” says Dyer.”