The Belgian Shepherd, Maggie, was one of the greatest search and rescue dogs. She is the standard for how dogs in the field should be, and even though she has recently passed she still continues to hold that standard.
Remember the worst tornadoes that ripped through Tennessee, the flooding in 2010, Hurricane Irma, drownings, and many more disasters? Maggie was there, working her hardest throughout everything. Maggie and her owner Melissa Riley were always a perfect team together.
Maggie’s most remarkable moment is believed to be in Castalin Springs. A child had been torn away from his mother’s arms, the mother dying in the rubble. Maggie was fortunately able to find the young boy and save his life.
“There was so much death and destruction around there but then to find that little guy in the midst of it all…it was just incredible.” said Riley.
Maggie was the first ever national certified search and rescue dog in Nashville. Her skills were remarkable, she was able to find a lead on someone with just a sock or a blanket. She was even able to smell people who had been buried alive at disaster sites.
Loved by many across Nashville and Tennessee, Maggie was the best search and rescue dog that there ever was. She set the bar for how search and rescue dogs should be.
Not very long ago though, Maggie had begun to grow too old for her work. She retired from pulling people from the rubble, and instead took on the role as a cadaver dog. On her very first job, she found a drowning victim.
“She indicated an exact spot in the water. The diver literally landed on top of the victim and we were able to bring this victim home to his family very quickly.” said Riley.
“A once in a lifetime animal”
Riley said that Maggie was always a wonderful dog to take to schools as well. The children loved her, and she was always so sweet and gentle. She would even jump from desk to desk in the classrooms, bringing joy to all of the children.
On the playground outside, she’d even play hide and seek with the children. They would hide, and she would find them every single time.
For Maggie though, her retirement was only brief before her passing.
“I don’t want to cry on camera,” said Riley. “She was very special. It was an honor to work with her. A Nashville vet saved her from a cancerous tumor. She had four to six weeks to live so we brought her out here and spoiled her like crazy and she got to live the life.”
“She is just one of those once in a lifetime animals where you make a bond and she is your best friend.”
Maggie, the Belgian Shephard, will always live on in the hearts of those she saved.