Oklahoma City Bombing, 1995

Hunter was still fresh from his search and rescue training when the call came on April 19, 1995. The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City had been blown up. There was hope that some people might be alive under the rubble. Could Hunter come? Hunter and his handler, Bruce Speer, left immediately as part of the elite Puget Sound Task Force of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“It was very emotional for all of us,” Speer recalls. “We had been training for natural disasters, and then this. It was a big difference, because someone had done this on purpose.” It was soon clear that no one else would be found alive in the wreckage. Hunter also went on stress patrol. He was available to searchers as they came in from the site, for play, for petting, for a momentary respite from their overwhelming anxieties and sorrows.

Hunter just loves his job, loves the searching, the roaming over rubble, the fierce games of tug-of-war that are his rewards. He is fearless, agile, and focused – so focused that Speer is already planning how he will keep Hunter happy when the shepherd’s physical talents begin to fade with age. “I’ll have to keep him thinking he has some job to do. He’ll be retired, but he won’t understand that.”

Written by Kit Carlson


Bruce and Hunter at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on April 19, 1995. It encompasses the now-sacred soil where the Murrah Building once stood, capturing and preserving forever the place and events that changed the world."

Read more at: www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org