A search dog whose story inspired a book by an Alamo author is in Japan to help with rescue efforts after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami last week.
Pearl and her handler, Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Ron Horetski, and five other Canine Disaster Search Teams from Los Angeles County Task Force 2 mobilized by USAID will aid in rescue efforts in Japan.
According to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, the teams will comb the wreckage in search of survivors.
Pearl also aided in disaster rescue operations after Haiti's 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010.
Debra Tosch, executive director of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, noted the importance of having trained dogs like Pearl in a disaster.
"Coming right on the heels of the New Zealand quake, the devastation in Japan underscores the critical importance of having the most highly skilled canine search teams ready to deploy—locally, nationally and internationally—at a moment’s notice," she said.
Pearl was rescued from the Plumas County Animal Shelter and trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. She was donated to the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Horetski in July 2008.
Lee, a former Oakland Zoo docent and teacher, worked with last year's Rancho Romero second-graders in now retired Connie Forslind's class to illustrate the book.
All sales proceeds from A New Job for Pearl will fund the training of a search-and-rescue dog, which costs $15,000.
Lee said there are only 78 books left of the 1,000 copies printed. A book costs $10.
Lee said, "I would love to be able to report to Ron Horetski, upon his return from Japan, that Pearl's story has made it possible for us to sponsor another search dog!"
"A New Job For Pearl" is available online, or by e-mailing email@example.com. Cost is $10.