Superpower: Avalanche Rescue
Location: Whistler, BC, Canada
Breed: Border Collie
Age: 5 years old
Human partner: Ian
Together, Henry and his Handler/Trainer Ian Bunbury, are a Senior Avalanche Rescue Dog Team working as volunteers with the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association. Henry is the third Border Collie that Ian has trained for Avalanche Search and Rescue. Ian believes that Henry’s strong herding instincts combined with the Border Collies’ legendary work ethic, their natural smarts and physical soundness make for a great canine working partner. Indeed, Henry’s grandfather was a Reserve World Herding Champion, and Henry has put those herding skills to use in Wildlife Aversion work in his hometown of Whistler, B.C., moving both Canadian Geese and Black Bears out of conflict situations.
Henry’s regular day job in the winter season sees him accompanying Ian, a professional Ski Patroller at Whistler Mountain, at work every day, where they stand ready to respond to Avalanche Search and Rescue calls. Reflecting Henry’s impressive working heritage, he is most fulfilled when he is working: to him, finding the quarry means the fun is ending! Their weekly training includes SAR practice, transportation by snowmobile, toboggan, chairlift, and riding on Ians’ shoulders. They also train annually in helicopter long line insertion and extrication. In addition, Henry also helps Ian with avalanche awareness education demonstrations for young skiers and snowboarders.
At home, Henry is a relaxed pet who believes there is never a bad time for a wiggle, but he is always ready for a callout. In March 2017, Henry and Ian had a bittersweet moment when they found a buried avalanche subject after three hours of searching. Though the subject was not found alive, the experience only served to strengthen this teams’ dedication to the CARDA motto: “committed to saving the life of the avalanche victim”.