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September 25, 2013

Dog who helped search for tornado victims honored

EDMOND, Okla. — His name is Bond. He is courageous and confident, renowned for his search and rescue work. But unlike the fictional secret agent known as 007, this Bond has four legs and a silky fur.

Bond, a soft-coated Wheaten terrier, is being recognized next week for his bravery in helping search and rescue crews locate bodies in the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., where an EF-5 tornado swept through May 20, killing 23 people.

After the storm passed, Moore Police Capt. Larry Love went to the destroyed school to check on the status of the children inside. He discovered children were trapped under collapsed cinder block walls and debris. 

Love needed a search dog.

A couple of phone calls later, JaNell Mayberry, Bond's owner and handler, arrived with her dog.

"I looked down at Bond and observed a tired, wet and muddy animal," Love wrote in a letter of recognition last month. "Bond had already been working at Southwest Fourth and Telephone Road to locate trapped victims and then walked approximately one mile through the debris and destruction to reach Plaza Towers School."

Despite his condition, Bond went to work immediately. He alerted in a search area and several bodies were recovered. He moved to another unsearched area and alerted there. Several other bodies were recovered. 

"Bond's tireless searching and drive allowed us to recover the victims quickly and expedited the preservation of the victims," Love wrote. "Bond performed in an exemplary manner even after suffering two puncture wounds from nails in the debris he was searching." 

No additional victims were found in the school, a fact Love attributed to the dog's excellent work. 

"He and I just love to work," said Mayberry, of Edmond, Okla. "He will always amaze me. Basically, you ask him to do it and he will find a way to do it."

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