Of course, we’re aware of the fact that Draco is not a pet, he’d probably be very insulted if he understood the implications of that word. What he is, is a working dog, a highly esteemed colleague to the men and women working in the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS), a six-year-old search and rescue dog with the record of nine (!) people found in his SAR career!
Kruno Stipetić trained Draco to work with him for the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, although when Draco first came to him back when he was still a puppy, it didn’t seem like it was going to be such a success, Bogdan Blotnej writes for 24sata. Nobody worked with Draco on basic commands and training, so they had to start his training from scratch, and it took them two years of hard work and training for Draco to become a licensed SAR dog.
He passed the HGSS test, which is considered to be one of the most difficult in the world. He’s licensed to perform search and rescue in collapsed buildngs and in avalanches, but luckily, neither of the two happen often in Croatia, so he helps with other SAR missions as well. Recently on Pašman more than a hundred people searched for a missing woman for over two days. It took Draco around half an hour to find her, alive and well.
Although he’s only six years old, he appears somewhat older to those who meet him first – probably because of the grey hair on his snout, but also because of the serious demeanor and obedience. Mr. Stipetić says that the grey hair might be because Draco feels the strees of his job, and that his hair started turning grey when he was only 3.5 years old.
He takes his job seriously, never gets scared (even when on a mode of transportation that he’s not used to), enjoys snow and stays focused until his work is completely done. Sometimes he finds people that have been lost and they are so happy to see him that they start petting him immediately and thanking him for his help. That confuses and disturbs him, because he knows that his job is not over until he manages to get HGSS people to find both him and the person they were looking for.
HGSS has named Draco officially the most succesful SAR dog in Croatia, because of his nine finds in his career, where on average such a dog manages to find two or three people in their career. After each succesfull mission Draco gets a reward for his hard work – he gets to play with his ball, which is for him more important than the food is sometimes!
Find the other winners of the title “Croatian Pet of the Month” here.