Osceola woman keeps promise to deceased friend whose dog searches for missing people

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 6:16 PM EDT
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When Joanne Gerhart was diagnosed with bone cancer, she would ask her friend, DiAnne Pope, of Osceola, to make a promise.

“The one thing she said was, ‘Please make sure [my dog] gets to a SAR handler,‘” recalled Pope.

Gerhart made a name for herself locally as a Search and Rescue (SAR) handler. Remi, a 6-year-old bloodhound, was one of her four SAR dogs. This means they can assist law enforcement agencies on calls for lost or missing people.

Gerhart died on June 18th, and now Pope is preparing to travel across the country to fulfill her Gerhart’s wish. Remi’s new SAR handler works with the Jackson County (Ore.) Sheriff’s Department.

“[Remi’s] face, I’m going to miss that face,” DiAnne said.

Due to the pandemic, Pope says live animals aren’t permitted to fly. However, the Fetch Foundation is making it possible for DiAnne and Remi to travel first class from O’Hare International Airport to Seattle, where the exchange with Remi’s new handler will happen.

Pope says it’s a no-brainer to do this for Jo.

“She’d do the same thing for me,” Pope said.

DiAnne is waiting to hear from the Fetch Foundation as to when she and Remi will fly to Seattle.

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