Following the massive earthquake that took lives of thousands of people, rescue operations to search and locate people under the rubble of collapsed architectures and pull them out safely is carried out around the clock.
Rescue workers’ along with rescue dogs are in search for survivors even though the chances of finding survivors are fading with each passing day.
Mexico, Thailand, Singapore, and other countries have sent their trained dogs to aid the rescue operation.
Search and rescue dogs are on site searching for survivors under the rubble, as they can smell sweat, hormones, blood, excrement, or even people's breath. When they have sniffed out someone lying under the rubble, they bark and paw at the spot, signaling the rescue team. The team then carries out the procedures required to safely rescue the survivors.
Paul Serzan, one of the K-9 search and rescue specialists told NPR, the dogs can differentiate between dead and alive. They can also tell the difference between the scent of someone who's been out in the fresh air and someone who's been confined.
"Everybody gives off scent, no matter if [you] just came out of the shower or you haven't showered in days," Serzan says. "We give off scent from decomposing cells in our body." He says they train their search and rescue dogs to find specific concentrated scents.
"As you're entombed, you build up scent," Serzan says about people trapped in a collapsed building. "You can almost think of it as like a fire inside a room. The smoke builds up and then will eventually leak out of the eaves, the roofs or through a window. As your scent gets contained, it builds up. It gets stronger. So we train [the dogs] to find that strong scent."
With thousands of people still missing, these search dogs can answer the crucial question: Where in the vast fields of rubble might people still be alive?
This narrows down the rescue efforts to a particular place where one may be trapped with the hope of being rescued.
The work of these canine rescuers has been highly praised, as their support has saved many lives that could have gone unchecked in the chaotic situation.