Shaena Singer: The Dog Hero


Glenda Marshall

Credit: Kate Horwick. Used with permission.For senior Shaena Singer’s Hero Project, she not only wanted to become a hero, but work with heroes herself. But rather than wearing sparkly capes and spandex, Singer’s heroes have wet noses and four legs.

Two days a week, Singer volunteers with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in Ojai, where she is building a magnet board to acknowledge every dog that works with the group.

“I work on essentially putting together their database with information about their dogs in training, certified dogs, retired dogs, dogs in lifetime care homes, and dogs which have passed away,” Singer said.

The Foundation is unique in that it takes in dogs that were once neglected or abused, as well as those that have been taken away from or abandoned by their original owners. Often, these dogs have too much energy to be common household pets, but rather than putting them down or leaving them in a shelter, the organization trains them to be search and rescue dogs.

“I was really inspired by their mission to take rescued dogs and make them the rescuers,” Singer said. “Also, the fact that a local non-profit organization is making huge impacts worldwide with their search teams is amazing.”

Singer heard about the organization when her sister fundraised for them as her mitzvah project for her Bat Mitzvah three years ago.

“My sister and I had volunteered for them a few times throughout the years since discovering them and just from those few interactions, we really built relationships with the people who work there,” she said.

Although Singer does not get to train the dogs specifically, she does not feel that her efforts at the foundation are for loss.

“I really enjoy doing it because I think it’s extremely important that all of the dogs which pass through the organization in one way or another are documented and accounted for and that they receive some sort of recognition and attention,” Singer said. 

What do you think?