Willow Oakes 2005-2018


Willow was a very independent gal. She was rescued after being found shot in Klamath Co. Oregon when she was 10 months old. When my old SAR Dog Ms Valorie was retiring, I got Willow from Seattle Border Collie Rescue and started training her. MS Valorie did most of the training. I just fine tuned everything. When Ms Valorie died from a stroke, it was just Willow and I carrying on our mission to help those in need.
We worked cases together in Alaska, Yukon, Canada, California, Utah, Virginia, Missouri, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada and this list goes on and on.
SAR Dog WIllow worked several post fire scenes in N. Cal. over the last few years looking for live and dead pets, and missing people. (Not this year though).
She was excellent at her job. Loved the snow, ice, cold, rain, love to sit at the edge of my kayak and bark at the birds and the world as it passed by while searching for drowning victims.
She was a very smart search dog. You could look at her and see that she was thinking things out.
After SAR Dog Valorie died, SAR Dog WIllow became slightly depressed (Sad) so a few years later I rescued SAR Dog Tyler. He was 6 months old and found severely abused beaten on a logging road in Idaho. SAR Dog Willow was not only his working partner but his mentor. They were inseparable.
She worked the Tornado for one day in Joplin, MO. The OSO Mud slide the second of the last day on scene. Many floods, tornados, floods. She just loved to work.
In her career in Search and Rescue around the world, SAR Dog WIllow responded to 3,249 SAR Calls with me. Finding 1,365 Live and Dead people and lost pets.
One month ago I was seeing SAR Dog WIllow struggle to get up steep ravines, stairs, etc. So I only let her work mostly flat searches (Fields, beaches, etc). Searches that were less harsh on her body. Two weeks ago she started falling and had to be helped up into the upright position after each fall. She worked her last official search just two days ago.
The last three nights, she would tell me that she needed to go outside. I let her out and though it was pouring rain, she just sat outside and stared into the sky.
I could see it was time to let her go. She wasn't much for cuddling but last night she indicated she wanted up in bed with me. So I lifted her up and she gently nuzzled me and kissed my face as I held her and cried.
Today there was sadness in her eyes. She knew it was time to leave. I took her to Jones Beach where she ran as best she could, swam in the Columbia River and chased tennis balls
with her two friends SAR Dog Tyler and Cedar (visiting for a few days). Then I took her out for ice cream and today at 1435hrs. She looked at me, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and closed her eyes one last time.
You can view her information on Facebook at International K9 Search and Rescue or Harry Oakes. Her remains will be cremated and spread along side where SAR Dog Ranger, SAR Dog Valorie's remains were spread in the Ocean where she loved to play.
Willow was 12-1/2 years old.
Rest in Peace my little Hero. You will be with me in my heart, in my soul until the day I die. I love you

In Loving Memory SAR Dog Willow Jennifer Oakes K-9-1.
After holding her in my arms and listening to her take her last breath, I cried. I felt her pain leave her body and peace come over her. I held her and cried.
Now that it's been a few days to reflect on what it meant to have Willow in my life, I want to say Thank you Willow for being there when my old SAR Dog Valorie died at age 14 years 11 months.
Losing Valorie after 14 years of working and living together tore my heartout as losing you has done.
Thank you for being there when my friend and skydiving partner David Logan (old soldier I worked with in the US Army Military Police 44 years ago) died from cancer.
Thank You for being there for me when my father Harry Sr. died in the Salem hospital after Kaiser Hospital gave him a septic infection while changing his defibulator.
Thank you for being there for me when mom (Deloris Oakes) was found dead (Murdered) in her bed at home and Salem PD Did absolutely NOTHING even though I identified the suspect, witnesses and evidence to convict the suspect.
Thank you for being there day after day, night after night when I just needed to cuddle and hug you and your SAR Dog Partner Tyler after the many difficult searches with very sad endings.
You always had a smile on your face and love in your heart.
You are truly and angel sent here to help those in their time of need.
You were rescued from a shelter after being shot.
You traveled the world helping me bring closure to so many families missing their loved one.
Hugs, kisses and Thank You.
I miss you terribly.
Your friend, your partner,
Willow Oakes 2005-2018 RIP my hero.


06 / 2013 SAR Dog Mocha died in her handler's arms. SAR dog Mocha worked numerous missing person searches around the NW an on the island of ST Croix USVI. She always had a cheerful loving personality and will be truly missed by all who knew her and loved her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her handler Janna Russel at this time.

SAR Dog Ranger Oakes K-9-1. Jan. 1988- Nov. 1994.

 Ranger was a black Lab-Newfoundland mix. Saved from the dog pound. Trained by Harry and worked for 7-1/2 years with Harry in Portland Mountain Rescue, Oregon D.O.G.S. and Mountain Wilderness Search Dogs. Documenting 382 Missions. 236 Human searches, 56 Live finds, 77 Dead finds. 146 Lost pet searches, 23 Live Finds, 12 Dead Finds.

Ranger resting after helping find a buried homicide victim in Polk Co. Ore.

 Ranger was Harry's second search dog. Harry  with his son Brandon, found Ranger in the Multnomah County animal control dog pound and saved him. They trained him for all aspects of search and rescue. During his 7 1/2-year career, Ranger, a spoiled rotten Lab Newfoundland pound puppy, documented over 370 search and rescue missions for 350 missing persons and pets.

He found 124 missing humans and 33 missing pets. He also documented over 20,000 hours of training, testing and actual missions and traveled over 250,000 miles around the world to perform search and rescue.

Harry and SAR Dog Ranger being hoisted by helicopter after a winter rescue up on Mt Hood.

Photo of Harry and Ranger rappelling into a crevasse on Mt Hood to locate two missing climbers.

In loving memory of Ranger Oakes
Born: May 25, 1987
Died: November 24, 1994
Portland, Oregon

Funeral - Memorial Service
Thursday, December 1, 1994 6:30 PM
Parkrose Community Church - Portland, Oregon

Officiant, Pastor Charles Ross
Parkrose Community Church - Portland, Oregon

Musical Selections
"Born Free"
"Going Home"
"Over The Rainbow"

Ranger to this day is rated as one of the top search and rescue dogs in the history of search and rescue. He has twice been featured on the TV Series "Rescue 9-1-1". He was featured on over 150 TV and radio talk shows. Over 250 newspaper and magazine articles were written about "Ranger". A book "A Call to DUTY" is his life story seen through his eyes as a search and rescue dog. He won the National Jefferson Award, The KPTV For Kids Sake Award, The Oregon Pet Hall of Fame Award, and he is the only dog in the history of search and rescue to win the National NASAR's Higgens and Langley Swift Water Rescue Award for helping Harry save 2 drowning children off the Oregon Coast in the Pacific Ocean near Seaside, Oregon.

Safari Ltd has honored "Ranger" by making an Angel Animal beanie baby replica of him. The first it 's kind in the nation. On Nov. 25, 1994, Ranger lost his struggle with medical related problems and from old age and he died in Harry's arms. On this day, a part of Harry died with the loss of Ranger. Here's what Harry wrote for Rangers funeral service.

"There is a new star in the sky tonight. It shines my way through the night, to guide me to where I must go. It's brightness and warmth that is provides, is the same brightness and warmth that was shared to all who knew Ranger here on earth. I know its Ranger still guiding my way through life's wilderness. To show me the way. I lost my best friend today, the world lost a true hero.  Ranger Oakes 1987-1994".

Funeral memorial services were held Dec. 1, 1994 for Mountain Wilderness Search Dog Ranger Oakes. The service was held at Parkrose Community Church and there was standing room only for his service.  He performed his first search mission in 02-18-1988, and found the victim dead in less then four minutes. He performed his last search mission Nov. 24, 1994 and found that victim also. When he wasn't' working, he was helping Harry teach children and adults how to be safe through the Help Us Find You search and rescue safety program. Ranger performed over

1,035 school, church, camp and safety fair programs. Even today I have kids and their parents approach me to tell me how much they miss him.

 He loved playing "Tug of war" with his human brother Brandon and his dog sister "Valorie". Not only was Ranger a fantastic search dog, but also he was my best friend and partner. He loved his work and all of the people he meant. He worked the Philippine Earthquake, Northridge CA earthquake, and numerous other disasters around the world. He was truly a gift to the entire world from GOD. and now he is safe in Heaven where he will be playing and resting until it is my time to join him. Ranger we love you and miss you dearly, the world has lost a gentle giant, and I have lost the love of my life. God bless you and be safe. Love, hugs, and kisses, your partner, friend, handler, and dad. Harry.

 Last Night I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep. I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep. I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear, "It's me, I haven't left you,  I'm well,  I'm fine,  I'm here." I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea, You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me. I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore. I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more. I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care. I want to re-assure you, that I'm not lying there. I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key. I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said " it's me." You looked so tired, and sank into a chair.

 I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there. It's possible for me, to be so near you everyday, to say to you with certainty, "I never went away." You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you. The day is over and as you climb the stairs I smile and watch you yawning and say "good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning." And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide, I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side. I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see. Be patient, live your journey out then come home to be with me.

Ranger’s last day on earth with his brother Brandon Oakes.

 SAR Dog Ranger, my HERO.

 Harry’s Yahoo 360 blog re SAR.


 Photos of Harry’s search dog teams in action.   http://www.flickr.com/photos/25451583@N03/  




On 01-09-09 at 1450hrs. SAR Dog Valorie Elizabeth Oakes died in her partner’s Harry Oakes’ arms from a stroke and complication of old age.


SAR Dog Valorie worked for 14 1-2 years with Harry Oakes in Mountain Wilderness Search Dogs and International K-9 Search and Rescue Services.


Before SAR Dog Valorie’s retirement and death, she documented 5,876 SAR Mission callouts for missing persons and lost pets. She had 1,651 documented finds & assisted finds of people, pets, suspect identifications, and evidence.

 On over 1000 of the cases SAR Dog Valorie and her handler harry were canceled as the victim was located prior to our arrival.

(All these findings have been reviewed and verified by an independent auditing firm).


Photographs of both Harry and Valorie can be reviewed in People Magazine Nov. 30, 98 issue page# 61.

 Valorie was saved from a dog rescue facility in Corvallis, Oregon. She was a Schiperkee, border collie, and Mutt Mix. Found wandering the streets of Corvallis, Ore. in 1994 at the tender age of 5 months old.  

Ms. Valorie has traveled around the world twice, with Harry performing search and rescue. When Harry and Valorie weren’t working Search and Rescue calls, SAR Dog Valorie assisted Harry in his child safety programs called HUFY (Help Us Find You), which teaches children City, and Wilderness Survival tips. From Stranger Danger to being safe and helping us find you when

Ms. Valorie was Harry's personal dog as well.


Harry trained Valorie for all aspects of search and rescue to include searches in and for: People and Animals, kidnapping's, evidence finds, homicide searches, Rock-Snow-Mud-Sand-Building Debris Avalanches. Day or Night searches in Mountain Wilderness, Glaciers, Crevasses for Mountain Rescue missions. Jungles, Bayou's, Urban, Desert, Fresh and Salt water Ocean drowning victims, transportation accidents, Bombings, Fires, Floods, Tornados, Earthquakes, Storms.


SAR Dog Valorie's favorite food was a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich from McDonalds.

Her favorite TV Show is M.A.S.H. re-runs. Valorie slept in Harry's bed and was spoiled rotten.


She always wore her seat belt when flying inside the airplane and traveling in a vehicle. Her seat belt ran through her harness. Valorie got her teeth brushed every day and a full body massage after every mission. 


SAR Dog Valorie documented finds of dead victims (humans) in the Oklahoma City Bombing Disaster in 1995.



She assisted in the search for missing pets after the Skeleton Fires in Bend, Oregon.


She documented finds of 29 dead humans in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch struck in 1998.


In April of 1995, Ms. Valorie responded privately with her handler Harry, to the Oklahoma City Bombing Disaster. Valorie has been credited for finding 10 dead victims remains there and assisted in Pet Assisted Therapy at St. Anthony’s Hospital for 5 survivors and their families.


Valorie was given full credit by DATELINE NBC report “Into Thin Air” regarding her alerts and findings. Harry’s report to the FBI and Oregon City PD on Ashley Pond remains buried under cement in the Ward Weaver case in Oregon City, Ore.

She also found victims in both the 8/99 and 11/99 Turkey Earthquakes. Finding 71 dead and 14 alive. (humans). One of her best live saves was a 10 year old child buried 32 feet down in the rubble pile in Turkey who had been laying next to her dead mother for 10 days with no food or water. “SAR Dog Valorie kept alerting and we kept digging. For 8 hours straight until we found her. Doctors without borders had to amputate the child’s legs to save her but she’s alive today because of Valorie”.

Val had quite a gift at finding people buried in dirt, snow, rubble and even in the water.


SAR Dog Valorie was used in every state in the USA for a mission regarding a missing person or lost pet.

SAR Dog Valorie assisted Harry in a search for a missing Alzheimer patient in Cabo, Mexico and was able to determine what happened to him.


She determined what happened to a missing 18-year-old American missionary in Dominican Republic Bay of Eagles. She documented numerous searches in Canada. St. Thomas, and St Croix USVI.


SAR Dog Valorie assisted Harry in teaching K-9 SAR to the teams in Turkey after the 1999 earthquake and to the teams in St. Croix USVI.


Valorie flew over 650 times in cabin in commercial and military aircraft to and from search and rescue missions.


SAR Dog Valorie is the first search dog ever to be allowed into Jamaica for a search mission. She was successful in finding evidence and identifying a murder suspect in the case. This documented by the Miami office of the FBI forensic teams.


Photo of Harry and Valorie   SAR Dog Valorie resting

SAR Dog Valorie and Harry in the Oklahoma City Bombing.

  Book cover written about Valorie’s work in Oklahoma City.

SAR Dog Valorie and Harry resting in the Turkey quake. 


“Today the world lost a HERO and I lost my friend and the love of my life”


Harry Oakes C/O International K 9 Search and Rescue Services.

 Remembrances cards, gifts can be sent to:

International K-9 SAR Services PO Box# 1472 Longview, Washington 98632 USA. C/O Valorie Memorial.


If you wish to make a donation to your local K9 Search and Rescue team, or Humane Society in memory of Ms. Valorie Elizabeth Oakes Search dog and Hero that would be appreciated as well.

 SAR Dog Valorie’s last trip to the Oregon Coast. She loved to bark, dig and play.


Thank You.



Mr. Harry E. Oakes Jr.

Her Handler, Partner, and Friend.

 SAR Dog Valorie is survived by her partner Willow a 3-year-old Border collie, her human Brother Brandon Oakes. Her co workers SAR Dog Yogi and Therapy dog Maggie.

 More info available on myspace.com Harry Oakes / K9 SAR.

SAR Dog Yogi worked with his handler Michelle Keating for 12.5 years out of Vancouver, Wa. He was a giant love sponge golden retriever. He lost his battle with old age and respiratory failure today.

When Yogi wasn't working in K-9 SAR with Mountain Wilderness Search Dogs, and later with International K-9 Search and Rescue Services, he was busy visiting old folks in rest homes, patients dieing from AIDS and CANCER at the hospices, and anyone else who just needed a YOGI Hug and love.
He flew to Chicago once during a major snow storm and found a lost cat.
Several of his more memorable success stories was his work in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch struck. He found 29 victims dead, assisted in grief therapy for the surviving children and families.
He also assisted in locating Ashley Pond buried under cement on the Ward Weaver property in Oregon City, Ore.

He helped located evidence in the Carolyn Killaby case on Larch Mtn Wa. with Carolyn's family during a private search.

Yogi also located several drowning victims in Oregon and Washington. Over 85 search and rescue calls.

He is survived by his handler Ms. Michelle Keating and the love of his life another golden ret. Ms Maggie Mae who is totally distraught and beside her self over the loss of her love of 10 years.

Yogi you are a gentle giant and it will take many angels to lift such a heavy loving spirit as yours to heaven. 

We miss you. Go in peace my dear friend

your friend,


Maggie Keating
07-11-2010 0430hrs. Maggie May Keating one of our support therapy dogs died in her sleep. She was 13 years old.

I found Maggie in the dog shelter. She was badly abused.

Some dumb-ass had chained her to a tree. Once in a while they threw food and water to her. (According to the neighbor). They showed her no love, no attention. She had no real shelter.

When we rescued her, the chain had dug into her fir, skin so bad it was bloody and raw. The vet had to remove it.

Her teeth were almost gone from being so starved that she ate rocks to help her empty stomach feel better.

I called my work partner fellow dog handler Michelle Keating. When Michelle and Maggie saw each other it was love at first sight.

Michelle nursed Maggie back to health and soon Maggie was Michelle's shadow.
When Michelle's search dog Rusty died, she got another golden ret. named Yogi.
Yogi was the biggest most gentle loving golden I've ever seen. And a damn fine search dog. When we would complete a hard search, Maggie was there for everyone emotionally.

She would love on Yogi, and Michelle and she would also be there for anyone else who needed some extra love.

Maggie grew to be such a love sponge that she was great as a therapy dog. She went with her partner Yogi to OUR HOUSE which is a place where people suffering from terminal illnesses such as aids and cancer were dying. She would help bring love and peace to their hearts and souls.

Anyone who met Maggie instantly were smiling.

Maggie's partner Yogi died almost a year ago, Maggie was beside herself with grief and loss. She wandered the house and as her old age caught up to her, she lost her hearing
and wasn't interested in doing much of anything anymore. She would try but her old age and arthritis was really slowing her down.

When Michelle would watch my little rescue dog Tyler while Willow and I traveled around the country doing searches, Tyler would always greet Maggie with tail wags and kid kisses. Maggie would just roll her old eyes, give us a smile as to say OK OK

I'll put up with him.

This morning at 0430hrs. both of my search dogs Willow and Tyler woke me from a dead sleep and wanted to go outside. They both looked up into the sky. I thought this to be very strange. They didn't go out and pee. There were no raccoons or cats in the trees. They just looked up. Then both of them came inside and laid next to me on my bed and cuddled with me.

Michelle called me at 0630hrs.and told me that around 0430hrs. Maggie passed away in her sleep.

Now I know why my dogs wanted to go outside. As Maggie was so thoughtful of everyone else, she stopped by to say goodbye to Willow, Tyler, and myself.
As if to say thank you for being part of her life. 

She will be missed by all who knew her.

I love you Maggie.

Give Yogi, Valorie, and Ranger some love as well, when you see them.

Your friend always

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