EDMOND, Okla. — His name is Bond. He is courageous and confident, renowned for his search and rescue work. But unlike the fictional secret agent known as 007, this Bond has four legs and a silky fur.
Bond, a soft-coated Wheaten terrier, is being recognized next week for his bravery in helping search and rescue crews locate bodies in the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., where an EF-5 tornado swept through May 20, killing 23 people.
After the storm passed, Moore Police Capt. Larry Love went to the destroyed school to check on the status of the children inside. He discovered children were trapped under collapsed cinder block walls and debris.
Love needed a search dog.
A couple of phone calls later, JaNell Mayberry, Bond's owner and handler, arrived with her dog.
"I looked down at Bond and observed a tired, wet and muddy animal," Love wrote in a letter of recognition last month. "Bond had already been working at Southwest Fourth and Telephone Road to locate trapped victims and then walked approximately one mile through the debris and destruction to reach Plaza Towers School."
Despite his condition, Bond went to work immediately. He alerted in a search area and several bodies were recovered. He moved to another unsearched area and alerted there. Several other bodies were recovered.
"Bond's tireless searching and drive allowed us to recover the victims quickly and expedited the preservation of the victims," Love wrote. "Bond performed in an exemplary manner even after suffering two puncture wounds from nails in the debris he was searching."
No additional victims were found in the school, a fact Love attributed to the dog's excellent work.
"He and I just love to work," said Mayberry, of Edmond, Okla. "He will always amaze me. Basically, you ask him to do it and he will find a way to do it."
JaNell met Bond through her aunt, who shows and raises soft-coated wheaten terriers. Bond was an unruly 8-week-old puppy.
"People have always said he and I have an unusual bond," Mayberry said.
In addition to search and rescue, Bond learned K-9 skills that allow him to sniff out drugs and locate offenders on the run. He also works as a therapy dog at hospitals and retirement communities.
Bond will travel to Pennsylvania next week to receive the Wheaten Ambassador Award from a national breeding club, in recognition for his contributions to the breed.
Mayberry said the award means a lot to her as Bond's owner and handler.
"It just tells you how unique this dog is," she said. "It means the world to me."
Mark Schlachtenhaufe writes for the Edmond (Okla.) Sun.