Dogs can suffer from a whole host of diseases and other serious health problems. Some of these conditions are inherited, while others are caused by viruses; still others are related to lifestyle and environmental influences.
A well trained SAR dog is a sight to behold. The dog can evenly maneuver the most difficult of terrain with the grace of a mountain goat all the while looking for a trapped or hidden human being. This type of work is often done on the fly, at the drop of the hat, with little advanced warning. It requires a talented dog and a special handler willing to invest the time and effort.
So you have made the decision to get a dog. Perhaps you had a bad experience once before with a dog who you thought was cute or friendly, but then when you got him home he turned out to be a holy terror, and the whole thing turned into a nightmare. Even if you have never had such a bad experience, the fact remains that choosing a pet is a life-changing decision, and it is one that takes a lot of thought and research.