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Death Row Dog Saves a Life

His full name is Keasaun Beethoven's Fifth but most people know him as Kaze. This Alaskan Malamute spent his first few years as a sled dog in competitions. Unfortunately, his owner was injured in a sledding accident and Kaze was placed in a shelter.

Unable to be adopted, the sad decision was made to humanly euthanize him. Just days before he was to be put down at the shelter, he was rescued by Daryl Lee of Castro Valley. "Someone was going to throw this dog away," said Daryl.

Daryl recognized the dog's exceptional abilities and thought that he might make a good search and rescue dog. He enrolled Kaze in the training program at the California Rescue Dog Association, one of the largest and oldest volunteer K-9 Search and Rescue organizations in the country.

It is believed that Kaze is one of the first Alaskan Malamutes to be certified. Most search and rescue organizations use German Shepherd and Australian Shepherds, which are known to have the keenest sense of smell.

A woman in her late 20s was reported missing. Her family believed that she may have tried to commit suicide. The Contra Costa Sheriff's Department began their search, but soon realized that they needed help. They decided to put the newly certified Kaze to work. Within ten minutes, Kaze led Daryl and the other rescuers to a bridge near the San Pablo Dam. "He ran down under a bridge that crossed a creek," explain Daryl. "It looked like he was going to jump in and get wet."

Kaze had found the missing woman, who was now in a coma. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where she remained in a coma for nearly a week. She has since recovered and is back at home with her family.

It has been reported that the woman had less than an hour to live and if Kaze had not found her so quickly, the result would have been disastrous. On only his second day on the job, Kaze became a hero, going from death row dog to a search and rescue success.