Photo from Dog Bless You Facebook groupAs of Sunday evening, 101,924 had clicked “Like” on the Dog Bless You Facebook fan page, meaning the Annenberg Foundation will donate $200,000 toward sending search and rescue dogs to help in Japan with earthquake and tsunami response.

Dog Bless You is a project of the Annenberg Foundation designed to highlight the selfless acts of dogs.

The recipient of the funds, the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, has already deployed twelve canines with handlers to Japan to begin search and rescue missions in the Ofunato City area on the North East coast where the skills of rescue dogs are critically needed to find people trapped in the rubble. They head out today with teams from Fairfax County, VA Urban Search and Rescue and Los Angeles Search and Rescue providing their “BARK” alerts whenever the dogs sense anyone alive in the rubble.

Now in its 15th year, the non-profit National Disaster Search Dog Foundation based in Ojai, California provides professionally trained canines to firefighters and other first responders to help find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. The service is provided at no cost to fire departments.

The foundation hopes to train 21 new Canine Disaster Search Teams in 2011 to meet the critical demand for this life-saving resource, at a cost of $15,000 per Canine-Firefighter team.

Visit the Search Dog Foundation website to donate, and get updates on Japan rescues.

(READ more about the Dog Bless You Facebook challenge at USA Today)

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