Tributes to Smart Rescue Dog ‘Doman’

Tributes to Smart Rescue Dog ‘Doman’Tributes to Smart Rescue Dog ‘Doman’

Eleven-year old ‘Doman’ known as one of the world’s smartest rescue dogs, died of bladder cancer a week ago.

The well-trained, intelligent dog had saved the lives of more than 50 people in 30 different rescue operations in earthquake-hit areas and avalanches.

“In 2012, Doman helped search for survivors after two massive 6 and 6.5 magnitude earthquakes struck Varzaghan, Ahar and Haris cities in East Azarbaijan Province. Like other rescue dogs, he relied on his olfactory instincts to look for survivors,” said Yashar Shadpour, a 38-year old rescuer of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) office in Tabriz, West Azarbaijan Province and Doman’s trainer.

In addition to saving people’s lives inside the country, Doman (literally meaning mountain fog), a German shepherd, had served in rescue work abroad. He found 12 and 27 missing individuals in the Azerbaijan and Turkey earthquake-stricken areas, respectively, the Persian language newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.    

“Doman was only 45 days old when it was brought to the IRCS office. I started training it when it was just nine months, and one year later the dog learned almost everything in search and rescue operations,” Shadpour said.

At the same time, George Hoffman, an international trainer of Red Crescent’s rescue dogs, held a specialized 4-year course for all IRCS dog trainers in Iran.

“After the specialized program, the quality of the training and consequently the quality of our rescue dogs’ performance increased significantly,” Shadpour said.

“While all IRCS dogs are well-trained and intelligent, Doman was our smartest.” He was the first dog in the Middle East that succeeded in climbing down from a height of 86 meters on a high-altitude mountainous region to save the life of a climber caught in an avalanche in 2011 in Mount Bozgush, located between south of Sarab and north of Mianeh, in East Azarbaijan Province. “He was a hero of disaster relief.”


Doman was also patient and very kind. “When we took him to schools for holding earthquake drills with the aim to increase students’ preparedness, Doman behaved very well with children tugging his tail or rubbing his fur.” He accompanied the team for 11 years in different rescue operations across the country and his error rate was negligible.

Shadpour urged people to respect all animals, in particular search and rescue dogs. “They are living beings and in each operation they have rescued at least one individual; so they are valuable,” he said.

At present, 64 trained disaster dogs are in the IRCS rescue teams in order to help find missing people (there are two dogs for each province). Each dog must be trained for two years before starting rescue work.

They are trained to find human scent in very unnatural environments, including collapsed structures and areas affected by tornadoes, earthquakes and other disasters.  The dogs are also trained to work on unstable surfaces, in small confined spaces and other settings not usually found in the wilderness.