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Southwest NOW June 2015 : Page 36

— By Callie Revell During the day, Jerry Seevers works as a barber. He and his wife, Linda, have three children and four grandchildren and have lived in DeSoto since 1986. Never knowing when a “critical missing call” will come in, day or night, Jerry and his dog, Gypsy, lead another life. They become first responders — helping with search and rescue efforts for missing people, including the criminally missing. Jerry has served with the Army, National Guard and Reserves, which gave him valuable experience with search and rescue operations. “I was a helicopter pilot in the Army,” Jerry explained. “I worked with Special Forces to locate missing troops.” After becoming a civilian again, Jerry spent many years away from search and rescue until a special dog came along in 1996. “I bought my son a Siberian Husky,” Jerry said. “When we brought her home, it didn’t take me long to realize that this dog needed something to do to keep her out of trouble.” Soon, a co-worker mentioned MARK-9 (Metro Area Response K-9) and invited Jerry to observe a training session. “The first day I was out there, I was hooked,” Jerry remembered. MARK-9 is an all-volunteer organization based in Mesquite. Since its establishment in 1995, they have expanded from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to serve the rest of the state and New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana, as well. MARK-9 trains dogs and their handlers to find missing persons, alive or deceased. Both the dogs and the humans take the job very seriously. “When we go out there, we are going for a specific purpose,” Jerry said. “We’re going to find someone and bring them home. Sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we spend hours, and sometimes we spend days, but I can go out there with my dog and tell you whether someone is there or not. I can tell you whether they left the area and how they left.” Jerry’s Husky, Shadow, was a natural at search and rescue work. “Everyone said I was wasting my time with that dog,” Jerry remembered. “But what she accomplished in her life was just phenomenal.” Shadow was awarded a place in the Oklahoma Pet Hall of Fame for her search and rescue work. “When Shadow 36 SouthwestNOW June 2015

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