Larry Peabody was one of the earliest members of CARDA and our only full-time dispatcher until November 2005. During his 28 years, he was on call 24/7/365 and he dispatched search dogs teams to over 6000 requests from law enforcement, fire departments, FBI, ATF and DOJ.
CARDA is a large organization, with members spread throughout the state, but everyone in CARDA knew and depended on Larry. He took care of us all. One of the special touches Larry added to his job was to keep the families of the searchers informed. Larry understood how stressful it is on our families when we are called out on a search. He knew because he thought of us all as his family and he worried about us, too. So he kept our families apprised of the status of the search, as well as our estimated time of arrival back home. Not only did all CARDA handlers know the sound of Larry's voice (at any hour) but our families also knew the warm voice of the friendly CARDA dispatcher.
Larry never seemed to sleep; he would answer the phone at any hour ready to dispatch a search. He was also there in the middle of the night when you needed someone to talk to about a sad or frustrating search. And he never forgot to pass along a kind word that the requesting agency had said about you. Along with his dispatching job, Larry was also responsible for CARDA's paging system and served on the radio committee. Larry loved his job and he made ours possible.
In 1985, Larry's skilled techniques and know-how made it possible for CARDA handlers to respond to the Mexico City Earthquake, our first responce out of the country. He arranged everything with one call; teams were at the air base and deployed within hours.
He had 2 Aussies, Runner and Bullet, that were his constant companions. After their too soon deaths, he got another Aussie, Taos. Larry is survived by his wife, Bev (who is still active in search) 6 boys, 10 grandchilden, and 4 great-grandchildren.
We always felt safe and taken care of on a search because we knew Larry would not stop until he knew we were home safe. In honor of Larrry's years of service, his identification number "CARDA 100" has been retired. Thank you Larry, for so many years of service, caring, and dedication to search and rescue... so that others may live.
(Born: June 13, 1942 Died: December 27, 1994)
Rita and her husband Dave started out in the search world by joining Wilderness Finders (WOOF) in 1980/81. Dave dropped out after a year to run the family business. Rita continued in WOOF and then joined CARDA in 1984. She was a skilled handler and dedicated searcher, one who always made time to advise novice handlers on improving their skills. Rita was convinced that handlers needed more training than the dog and was fascinated with dogs scenting ability.
Rita's first K-9 was Ego, a large golden retriever, who was a hard working certified wilderness search dog. Ego was trained and certified for water, cadaver, and evidence search. Rita's next project was to train Mason, a german shepherd, who suffered from a skin disease and had a short career. Her next dog was Radar, a special guy. A rather small golden retriever with a big heart and a love for search work. Radar is retired and lives with husband Dave and his new family on 30 acres in the South Oregon.
There is pride that son Dan is actively involved in search and rescue work. Daughter Cathy joined CARDA and trained her GSD until she moved out of state. Cathy is still involved in dogs as a professional trainer. So a little bit of Rita's joy in dogs is carried on by her children.
Wes was one of those hard working guys that put 100 percent into everything he did. When it came to CARDA, he gave it 110 percent. He had a strong belief in CARDA and everything it stood for. He was a mentor to many teams in CARDA, those that were his apprentices and those that were not. When things got crazy, Wes had a way of keeping everyone calm and making everything right. If he didn’t have an answer he would find one. He was a man of few words; one of his favorite sayings was ‘less talk more eat, now lets go to lunch’. When it came to training, nothing was off the table. He provided training experiences that would stay with you a lifetime, foundational concepts you could review when faced with a roadblock. He would get particularly excited when the weather was bad. Sleet, rain, high force winds or snow, nothing would stop him from training. He was a stand up guy who always had your back. He was encouraging, honest and always there when you needed him. CARDA will never be the same without him. Following his death is his working dog Maggie passed away; she couldn’t live without her handler.