The Edmond Sun

September 23, 2013

National breed association to honor local canine hero

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — His name is Bond, not James Bond, just Bond. And he has four legs instead of two. But like the fictional secret agent he has done some pretty incredible things.

Bond is a soft-coated wheaten terrier, a dog prized for its coat, which is soft and silky with a gentle wave and of warm wheaten color. Underneath, however, is a formidable dog that leaves no doubt to his terrier origins.

Square and medium-sized, he is happy, steady, self-confident and alert to his surroundings. According to the American Kennel Club, the breed has been known for more than 200 years in Ireland, where they were the poor man’s dog, an all-purpose farm dog suited for patrolling small farms and ridding them of vermin, herding sheep and hunting with their master.

Unlike those ancestors, local resident JaNell Mayberry groomed Bond for a different line of work.

On May 20, an EF-5 tornado swept through Moore. In its path was the Plaza Towers Elementary School. The stories about the damage are familiar to many now. Bond’s heroics are a story yet to be told.

After the storm had moved on, 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.

Civilians at the scene were already conducting search and rescue efforts. Love learned as many as 50 children were possibly trapped. As law enforcement incident commander at Plaza Towers, Love needed a search dog.

A couple of phone calls later, JaNell and Bond arrived at the scene and were briefed about the situation.

“I looked down at Bond and observed a tired, wet and muddy animal,” Love wrote in a letter of recognition dated Aug. 6, 2013. “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, a local resident. “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 neighbor and aunt who shows and raises soft-coated wheaten terriers. Her first show dog, who got her interested in showing, was the same breed. Bond was an unruly 8-week-old puppy.

Others say Bond and Mayberry are normally in sync with one another.

“People have always said he and I have an unusual bond,” Mayberry said.

In addition to search and rescue work, Bond gained K-9 skills that allow him to sniff out drugs and locate offenders on the run. He found drugs a male prisoner was trying to smuggle via a body cavity into an Oklahoma prison. And he has taken a bullet protecting his owner.

Lee Mayberry, JaNell’s partner, served in the U.S. Army for eight years. He said he has seen a lot of good dogs, bigger dogs, and Bond doesn’t take a back seat to any of them.

“Small dog, big courage,” he said.  

Bond and JaNell soon will be traveling to Pennsylvania for the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America’s 2013 National Specialty, where he will receive the Wheaten Ambassador Award in recognition for his contributions to the breed. One dog within the United States is honored each year. This year’s event is Oct. 3.

Mayberry, a dog trainer, 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.”

Today, Bond is retired and enjoys doing things like duck hunting. He is a therapy dog and goes into hospitals, retirement communities and libraries. Like his ancestors, he also will herd. He has also sired puppies. | 341-2121, ext. 108