Zinka — Search and Rescue

Location: Los Gatos, California

Zinka is a CARDA certified trailing and human remains detection dog with her handler Shay Cook. Shay & Zinka are active members of Marin County Sheriff SAR, Alameda County Sheriff SAR, Yosemite/NPS SAR, and CARDA. Zinka is also titled in AKC tracking and obedience. Shay has over 20 years of experience with K9 SAR and is too humble to submit her dog for Hero Dog Award, so her colleagues are doing it for her.

What makes Zinka so special is that she’s willing to take on the hardest assignments e.g. very aged wilderness trails, remote backcountry searching in Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon, and seemingly every middle of the rainy night calls for lost children and dementia cases. Zinka has participated on finds and also the equally important SAR work on trailing to establish direction of travel or even absence of trail. Zinka’s mom Rixi won numerous awards for her storied career and when Shay started Zinka she didn’t want to dare expect the young Zinka would step into her mother’s paw prints. A very different dog, yes, but just as big a heart and courage as her mom and taught Shay that there are many ways to work as a team and teach each other new ways to solve familiar scent problems. If Shay & Zinka were to win they would be humble and gracious and use experience to encourage others.

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