Winchester Fire Department trains rescue dogs, assist larger agencies all with volunteers

Local News

WINCHESTER (KSNT) – While small towns are known for their quiet charm, one northeast Kansas rural town is training big dogs to tackle the responsibilities fit for towns big and small.

The Winchester Fire Department is a volunteer organization, with a total town population of around 500 people. While the squad is made up of good Samaritans, there are good boys on the team too, also known as the search and rescue dogs.

This is a unique feature of this small fire department. Typically, dogs of this caliber are only part of larger law enforcement agencies and fire departments.

“I trained her from the start,” Rittenhouse said. “It’s everything from how to live in my house and not get in trouble and not chew up my house because they’re very high drive dogs, to let’s go search some rubble for potential victims.”

These are live find, cadaver and bloodhound dogs. Rachel Rittenhouse is a former Kansas City, Missouri Police Department officer. Dogs like her own are part of the pack that assists and supports agencies like the one she previously served for.

Grendel is less than two years old, but will go anywhere the Kansas Fire Marshall sends her, both regionally and nationally – as she has national certification.

No matter how big or small, man’s (and woman’s) best friend can be a hero.

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