Volunteer's hectic, happy life



Kobe sits quietly on the concrete floor of the Tuolumne County Search and Rescue warehouse. With brown eyes, he gazes adoringly at whoever is petting him .

It's not often the 2-year-old golden retriever receives undivided attention, as Tuolumne County's first search-and-rescue dog-in-training shares a home with five kids, another dog, a cat, a goat, a snake, three turtles and a frog.

Training Kobe is just one of Jackie Potts' passions, so somehow he fits into her crazy schedule of raising a family, working full time at Tuolumne General Hospital and volunteering with the Tuolumne County's Search and Rescue Team.

During the day, the Columbia resident works as a discharge coordinator for the TGH acute psychiatric unit, helping develop plans for patients to ensure they stay healthy after leaving.

After work between soccer practices and cooking dinner Potts, 25, juggles in at least 16 hours of dog training each month. When his training is done, Kobe will be ready to track down missing hikers, hunters and campers in the Emigrant Wilderness and other wild parts of the Central Sierra Nevada. She hopes he'll be certified by December.

That means Search and Rescue officials will no longer have to look elsewhere for a dog to help them on their hunts.

"The Emigrant Wilderness is 126 square miles of the toughest terrain in California, and it's all in Tuolumne County so it's all our responsibility," Potts said.

Right now, she and Kobe focus on exercises that often take them out overnight, following scents through brush, streams and trees.

Most of the time Potts rewards him with water bottles Kobe's favorite toy.

"He'll take an empty water bottle over a tennis ball any day," she said. "He loves the crunching sound."

The Search and Rescue Team has been a prominent part of Potts' life for the past four years, since the Summerville High grad enrolled at Columbia College.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Friday October 21, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff details investigation of Marshall murder-suicide


Philip Marshall acted alone in killing his two teenage children, a pet ... more

Donnell Vista: Majestic and mystifying


Donnell Vista Point on Highway 108 is a remote and mystifying lookout ... more

Columbia Elementary board ousts superintendent


Five days after receiving a 2 percent raise, Columbia Union School District ... more

County wants changes on wildfire risk assessment


Tuolumne County officials are preparing to fight in Sacramento for local residents ... more

Realms of Darkness won’t haunt this year


The popular 4-H-produced haunted house “Realms of Darkness” in Sonora will not ... more