A natural disaster could strike at any time, that's why one local disaster relief group is keeping their K-9's on point.

Southeast K-9 brought in dozens of teams to Cleveland this weekend, training their dogs in the event of a disaster that would leave injured people and human remains hidden in rubble.

While these dogs may look like your normal man's best friend, they're on a mission to try and save lives.
"We've had loss of life so these dogs have done recoveries and they've done rescues, so these dogs have been utilized immensely within our community," said Debbie Triplett.

This job isn't an easy or common one, with only a handful of these dogs in the United States.
"When you have a building that comes down, the local law enforcement and local wilderness dogs, it's a totally different job, so these guys that do disaster they train specifically for it," said Triplett.

However, they don't become disaster dogs overnight. David Lynders says it could take up to two years to get one dog fully trained to know what to smell for.

"If you can envision a very large building that has collapsed, you wouldn't have any idea that there could be somebody underneath there. But if you bring a dog up, because a dog's sense of smell is so much stronger than ours that they can smell those scents and when they do, we just teach them to indicate on that," said Lynders.

The training doesn't stop with the certification.

"We try to get everyone together in a venue like this when we can. That way in the real world we know each other's dogs, we know the resources for each team, it just helps us function better," said Triplett. "Then you have to have a whole crowd of teammates that come out every weekend and every month and they're just dedicated to training these dogs and keeping them operational."

These volunteers and their partners are dedicated to saving lives.

"For us it's just a passion. It's no different than the hunter that goes out with his dogs every weekend and he's out there because he enjoys it. This is what we love and what we enjoy on a daily basis," said Triplett.

Southeast K-9 operates completely on their own, if you would like to donate to the K-9 group or learn more about them, click here.