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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Dog Ranger Oakes K-9-1. Jan. 1988- Nov. 1994.
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.
resting after helping find a buried homicide victim in Polk
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
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.
and SAR Dog Ranger being hoisted by helicopter after a
winter rescue up on Mt Hood.
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
Funeral - Memorial Service
Thursday, December 1, 1994 6:30 PM
Parkrose Community Church - Portland, Oregon
Officiant, Pastor Charles Ross
Parkrose Community Church - Portland, Oregon
"Over The Rainbow"
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
Safari Ltd has honored "Ranger" by making an
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
"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".
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
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.
day on earth with his brother Brandon Oakes.
SAR Dog Ranger,
Harry’s Yahoo 360 blog re SAR.
Harry’s search dog teams in action.
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.
Valorie worked for 14 1-2 years with Harry Oakes in Mountain
Wilderness Search Dogs and International K-9 Search and
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.
over 1000 of the cases SAR Dog Valorie and her handler harry
were canceled as the victim was located prior to our arrival.
findings have been reviewed and verified by an independent
Photographs of both Harry and
Valorie can be reviewed in People Magazine Nov. 30, 98 issue
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
was Harry's personal dog as well.
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.
Valorie's favorite food was a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich
TV Show is M.A.S.H. re-runs. Valorie slept in Harry's bed and
was spoiled rotten.
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
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
given full credit by
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
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.
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
SAR Dog Valorie and Harry resting in
the Turkey quake.
world lost a HERO and I lost my friend and the love of my life”
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
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.
Dog Valorie’s last trip to the Oregon Coast. She loved to
bark, dig and play.
Mr. Harry E.
Partner, and Friend.
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.
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
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
07-11-2010 0430hrs. Maggie May Keating one of our
support therapy dogs died in her sleep. She was 13 years
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
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
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