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Ramapo Rescue Dogs Touted As Unsung Heroes

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- When a woman failed to return from a hike at Rockland Lake State Park last week, rescuers brought in search dogs.

The body of Colleen Murphy, 47, was discovered two nights later in the cold, rough terrain by members of the Ramapo Rescue Dog Association.

Usually, when a search and rescue mission is launched in the Tri-State area, the association is among the first to receive a phone call.

Association President Penny Sullivan, whose own dog, Catana, works with the group told WCBS 880's Catherine Cioffi the animals were amazing canines.

WCBS 880's Catherine Cioffi speaks with the Ramapo Rescue Dog Association president


"We've found lost subjects that were still alive and unfortunately we've found subjects that succumbed to the weather," she said.

The dogs are often the unsung heroes in many search and rescue missions and are called upon for a variety of tasks.

"Very often we get called to look for the lost hiker, missing elderly or children," Sullivan said.

The dogs -- which are trained only to seek, not protect -- are expected to work hard and complete the search.

"They have to want to keep going even when they're a little tired, even when the conditions aren't that great," she said, "and they do it all for the love of getting that reward at the end of the find."

That reward, Sullivan said, was a simple play session.

Meanwhile, a tribute is being planned for the dogs at the 10th anniversary of 911.

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