Lest We Forget

This page is dedicated to those who have gone before us.

The passing of LCSAR team members makes us realize that we are not going to be here forever.

Some of us knew the team member well, some of us hardly at all. Some of us learned more about the person after their death than we did when they were alive. The “I didn’t know that about …” comment was heard more than once when reminiscing about the deceased person. Some of us discovered that the person was a kindred spirit, but life got in the way and our paths never really crossed. Too late we may have discovered that there was a true friend to be made.

How well do you really know your team mates? Get to know them now, not after they are gone.

They Will Be Remembered

Larimer County Search and Rescue members who have passed away are:

Frances M. Lieser – October 17, 2013

Albert Snow Taylor (Ab) – September 9, 2013

Carolyn Randall – August 7, 2008

Lee Curtis – 2007

Klause Hoffmann – 2002

Rod Willard – 2002

Dave Bigelow – June 10, 2000

Dave Manifold – 1995

Mike Price – June 21, 1992

Carolyn Randall
Dedication Page – Carolyn Randall

Lee Curtis

Klaus Hoffmann and his search and rescue dog Oskar II

Rod Willard
Dedication Page – Rod Willard

Dave Bigelow
Dedication Page – Dave Bigelow

Mike Price

Prior members of LCSAR who have passed away …

Frances M. Lieser – October 20, 1944 – October 17, 2013
Dedication Page – Fran Lieser

Jonathan Ludlum – 2009 – Photo unavailable.

Bob Taggart – 2007 – Photo unavailable.

Bill Floreck – 2006

Heather Bird – 2003

Members of the Search and Rescue community who have passed away …

Albert Snow Taylor
Dedication Page – Ab Taylor

SAR Dog Memorial

In honor of those dedicated, enthusiastic, canine companions who loved to do search and rescue as much as their owners did.


The biggest Heroes never look
the way we think they should,
Yet they can do amazing things
no human ever could.
They never think about themselves
no challenge is too great,
They’ll risk their life for anyone
and never hesitate.
They don’t expect a medal for
what comes so naturally,
The only thing they really need
is Love from you and me.
These Heroes are a special breed
God made each one that way,
I didn’t understand until
they buried mine today.

© By: Freda H. Babinski
Written: 8-11-2000
Dedicated to the SAR Heroes
From: http://petmemorialcards.com/flagcard3.html



It is with great regret and sadness that we need to announce the passing of another of our SAR dogs. This is truly a sad time for our team, our community and mostly our handler. Please keep them all in your thoughts. Merlin and his handler were one of those consumate professionals. They worked hard, trusted each other, and got results. Merlin and his handler were on over 70 missions in their 10 year career. 70 missions helping to reunite families and loved ones. 70 times when they could have stayed in the comfort of their home. 70 times when they said someone else’s needs were greater. They were a most prolific team and there probably isn’t an inch of Larimer County mountains without Merlin’s paw prints on it.

Those of you who trained and fielded with Merlin know he has always had a lot to say. Now, he says “thank you”-

For hiding during practice
For playing tug of war
For carrying extra water on missions
For trying to keep up
For watching his back
For rubbing his ears
For being a mentor, a teammate, a friend.

Thank YOU Merlin for letting us get to know you.



It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we have lost one of our SAR dogs. For those you who have worked with her, you will know this is a huge loss for our team, her handler and the community as a whole. She was a GREAT TEAM MEMBER. This was sudden and not expected so we all in shock and going through the grieving process.

Abby started her SAR dog training when her puppy ears still flopped over her head. She quickly showed a strong drive and easily mastered the needed skills. As she matured Abby developed a finesse that enhanced those skills and resulted in 2 finds and a number of assists over the course of 60 missions in Larimer County and around our state. Her mission load included several helicopter rides and the ever exciting hot loads. Abby was a lifetime member of our LCSAR family and her passing leaves a big hole in our hearts and the hearts of our canine partners.


German Shepherd

LCSAR recently lost one of our finest. Thunder was a German Shepherd who fielded with her handler, Estelle Purvis, a member of Larimer County Search and Rescue. She was certified in Air Scent for 9 years and helped with many missions. She was a tenacious worker and always supplied excellent information on searches.

In addition to Air Scent, Thunder also trained in Disaster and Water. She was much loved by everyone in LCSAR. Hiding for her was tremendously fun. She would come running in and bark, bark, bark until she decided to go back and get Estelle. She loved searching and playing with her reward toy more than anything.

Thunder will be missed by so many people.


Yellow Labrador Retriever
December 17, 2001 – April 20, 2013

Lakota wore many hats:

Larimer County Search and Rescue
Primary Certifications:
Air Scent
Secondary Certifications:
Human Remains Detection
Lakota was the first to certify in the Colorado SAR Dog community with this combination of skills.

Other volunteer activities include: Rocky Mountain National Park, Outdoor Buddies, Larimer County Parks and Open Space, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Lakota was privileged to have had 100 missions which included search and rescue and special assignments from other agencies.

Lakota was blessed by the Native Americans as a “Spirit Dog” and endowed with many talents to touch human hearts.

You will be severely missed and were loved deeply by many, especially me!!

Jayne Zmijewski

Lakota Yellow Hawk
Mission Accomplished and Completed
End of Watch….
Lakota Yellow Hawk fly free….


German Shepherd
2000 – 2012


Sadly I must let you know that Loki, one of our certified Airscent dogs, passed away on Friday, September 7, 2012.

Loki joined Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado (SARDOC) in December of 2000 at the age of 6 months and thanks to the guidance of several of our amazing handlers, and the mentorship of some amazing dogs, we were able to achieve certification in March of 2004.

He went on to work on numerous missions and was able to assist on several finds as well as make a few finds himself.

He was awarded the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association “Animal Hero of the Year” in 2008 for his effort on the Terry and Marion Jones rescue.

I think his most important mission came later, when he tracked a retired West Metro Fire Fighter to a cliff edge then airscented off the edge while working with myself and Ann Brown in Park County. The man had taken a fishing trip down the South Platte River when their boat capsized. The two attempted to hike out of the area (near Estabrook) but became separated at nightfall and our subject had fallen down a steep slope. His partner thought him dead due to the nature of the fall, and left to get help. We started on the river bank with his scent article and located the boat, then Loki found some of his personal iitems along the trail which climbed high out of the river bed. He eventually located the cliff and got an airscent down to the river so we had to descend back down several hundred feet to the South Platte where the man was found on a rocky slope. In the process of descending that loose cliff I freed a huge rock that almost killed Loki, knocking him into the white water river. When we found him, the subject was bruised but surprisingly well upon our arrival. Interestingly, he had lost hope of rescue and was a few minutes away from “jumping in to the river hoping to float down stream” as he could not ascend the cliff he fell off and was unable to circumnavigate out due to the river. Just down stream from him on the river was a class 5 white water section that would have likely killed him had he jumped in as he planned. Fortunately we were able to bring him out safely.

Loki was also a Urban Search and Rescue dog with Colorado Task Force One (FEMA). He passed advanced certification in Washington State in 2004, then again in Missouri in 2007. He was deployed to Hurricane Katrina, Ike, and Gustov along with a building explosion in Pueblo and represented Colorado at the USAR Canine Challenge in Balimore, MD.

Loki loved to do demos for children, and especially liked his time presenting at the Windy Peaks School in Bailey.

He loved his SARDOC friends both human and canine.

I was lucky to have him as a partner, not for his physique, his brains, or his nose, but for his heart and dedication.

Thank you to all who helped us along the way – there are so many of you!

Rest in Peace Loki, you certainly earned it buddy.

Roger Matthews


German Shepard
3/30/1997 – 11/9/2011


Yesterday morning, with a very heavy heart, I finally said goodbye to Chara, my beloved 14 1/2 year old german shepard dog. She was my working SAR dog, my biggest fan and most loyal companion – a highly driven, stubborn reflection of myself. She lived the fullest life any dog could ever hope for.

We backpacked everywhere from the Sierras to the Cascades to the Colorado Rockies. We found lost hikers, suicide and drowning victims. We worked many memorable missions, including one for a teammate, which I will never forget.

We camped with NASA astronauts and dedicated Columbia Peak to the victims of the Columbia disaster. We taught countless children how not to get lost in the woods. We taught Military Working Dog Handlers canine first aid for the field. She was my “guinea pig” for learning anatomy in vet school, laser and manual therapy, chiropractic, nutritional supplements, and arthritis medications. She was the inspiration for all that I have done professionally as a Veterinarian. No doubt many patients in the future will benefit from what she has taught me.

As those of you who are working dog handlers know, losing your partner is like losing your right arm. They are such a part of you that you only really realize the vacuum left behind until they are gone. Thanks to everyone for your support and friendship over the last 6 months roller coaster ride with her. It is comforting to be surrounded by “dog people” every day who really understand and respect the deep bond that you can develop with an animal.

I will miss her deeply, the stubborn little donkey…

Jen (Mackler) Hebel, Handler

Larimer County Search and Rescue

MRA Honor Guard


Chocolate Labrador Retriever
1998 – 2011

Bear was thirteen. He fielded as a trailing dog for eight of those years and loved every minute of it. He was always a sweet old boy. I’m sure he and Trace are off together now finding lost souls somewhere. – Dan Fanning


Yellow Labrador Retriever
2004 – 2010

I’ll always remember his beautiful face and his goofy approach to life. He was always his own person, and insisted on doing things his way. It never failed to make me chuckle to myself when he would take off on an alert. He brought a lot of smiles to folks in his 6 short years. Trace’s mission is over and he is at peace. – Dan Fanning


Labrador Retriever
November 4, 1996 – April 20, 2009

On April 20, 2009, Rosie departed this world for her final mission. Her mission was simple. To find that place where a search dog has unlimited squirrels to chase, lakes to swim in, rocks to climb on, snow to roll in, and meadows where she can play as much as she wants, work as much as she wants, and nap as often as she wants. And at the end of the day, there is always a little boy to find, who will play with her to both of their hearts content.

Rosie served as a certified search dog for almost 10 years.

Hug and love those that are dear to you, whether they are two-legged or four-legged. And do not take your time together for granted.

As for her final mission: “Rosie! Go find!”

Allen Weaver


Black Labrador Retriever
October 27, 1989 – April 8, 2002

Miriah was a member of Larimer County Search and Rescue from 1990 to 2002 and held Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado certifications in Air Scent, Water, and Evidence.

Came into my life at 7 weeks old, started training at 8 weeks…….. Well over 100 fieldings and her favorite parts were Helicopter and Zodiac rides…….. Next was the Division of Wildlife adventures.. and all of the hugs and pets that came her way…….

The life span of a SAR Dog is like the twinkle of a star in the heavens. The influence of a canine companion and working partner on our soul is forever!

Run free like the wind, “Miriah Weetomp” (Lakota Sioux) Run Free!! Jayne Zmijewski