What is K9 SAR?

What is K9 Search and Rescue?

CG K9 SAR is a core team of members whose community service is dedicated to the training of dog teams in the following disciplines:

  • Human Remains (aka HR) – Dogs are trained to locate a variety of human remain scents, both on land and water
  • Trailing – Dogs are trained to follow a person’s trail (walking / running etc.), in order to locate them (scent specific)
  • Live – Dogs are trained to find anyone in an area who is lost (scent & non-scent specific)

The K9 Teams supplement local law enforcement jurisdictions (within the state of Georgia) with the primary goal of reuniting lost loved ones back with their families.

How can someone contribute to the team?

There are several opportunities to contribute to a search and rescue team:

  • Donate your time and attend a training event!
    • Hide for a dog team, mimic a lost person and have a dog team find you!
    • Assist the team’s incident command lead for the training day.
      • What does this mean? Well, the team must document all training in order to prove, especially in court, that the dogs know what they are doing!
        • Log who is the target / lost person
        • When did they call in to inform the team they were in place?
          • Log the call (team starting)
        • When did the dog start their search?
          • Defining the age of the trail (how long person has been lost)
        • When was the lost person found?
        • What was the weather conditions?
        • Were there multiple lost people? Or just one lost person?
        • How long was the trail? 250 meters or 1.5 miles?
        • When did the K9 team and the lost person return to base?
      • Make sure you know where all team members are over the course of the training day. Laying trails can be dangerous.  It is possible for a training trail to turn into an actual search.  We need to ensure the safety of ALL team members and volunteers.  Knowing the approximate search area allows us to better focus our search in the event of an actual emergency.
      • Make sure there is no cross contamination unless asked for by the K9 team handler.
    • Flank a dog team (1 of 3 disciplines) and learn how the dog was trained or watch how the dog works to solve the problem.
  • Donate your talent to supplement the cost for the K9 Team(s)
    • Do you have a side business that makes T Shirts? Magnets? Decals? Hats?
    • Do you know anyone who would like to donate funds to supplement the costs for the team to remain operational?
      • Cost of GPS units and dog collars
      • Cost of dog vests
      • Cost of certifications (annually)
      • Cost of first aid equipment
      • Cost of leads / leashes for the dogs…. etc.
    • Join a Search and Rescue team!!!

What should you expect if you choose to join a team?

Search and Rescue is a rewarding learning process.  A team would be honored to have more members!  There are many aspects to a team which are all important for the cause they support.  Below are some options:

  • Incident Command Support
  • Rabbit – someone who likes to hike and hide for dog teams to find you
  • Dog Team
  • Other professional support, for example, legal, law enforcement, fund raising, public relations…etc.

All team members will have some level of financial investment requirements, from purchasing hiking boots to outfitting a dog for searching.  Dog Teams will obviously have more of an investment then other team members, however, the team supports everyone.  Incident Command works with all team members to make sure we are all safe.  None the less, everyone on the team plays an important role, of which one in particular…a rabbit 😊 (lost person).

What should one who plays a ‘lost person’ expect? Let’s paint a picture…

One day I was hiking by myself, the weather was amazing, low seventies with no humidity.  I planned my hike, which was approximately 5-6 miles long, with a stop by a water fall for meditation and serenity.  I was so excited to start my hike, I forgot to leave my plan in my car.  I realized this about 2 miles into my hike…”oh well, no big deal, it’s just 5 miles, I will be back to the car in a few hours”…I kept walking.  I reached the peak of the mountain where the waterfall was.  I went off course a bit to find a rock / ledge to sit and relax.  Then I realized, I was way off course.  I did not want to panic…my cell phone had no signal and the sun was going to set in a few hours.  I did not have a coat or a sweatshirt…. all I can think of is, I have dinner plans with my friends tonight!  Will anyone know I am missing?  Where I went?

As I try to find my way, I slipped on a rock and fell…sure feels like I broke my ankle…what am I going to do now!?

I sit and wait…and wait…

I find a tree where I can get off of the cold ground. I try to sit up to rest.  It feels likes bugs are crawling all over me, but really it is not happening.  I feel like I am hallucinating.  At some point I fall asleep or pass out, which ever came first.

Next thing I realize, I hear a bell, with rustling of leaves and maybe…I think I hear heavy footsteps, too.  Creepy in a way…I sit in silence.  The ringing of the bell gets closer and closer…what is that!?  Next thing I feel is a dog run up to me so fast, it startles me.  The dog was so happy to see me, jumping around with excitement, I thought.  Then he ran away!

Don’t leave me!  I scream, “come back”, I am here!!!

Within seconds the dog is back with people…I think.  Is this a dream?  The dog runs back with focus, sits right next to me.  I reach out to touch the dog and it allows me.  Then people dressed in bright orange with flashlights, walk up to me.  Are you ok? They ask…yes, of course I am, now.  Thank God.  You are here. 

This is one of many possible examples of someone who is lost.  K9 Teams are part of the search and rescue teams who live for the phone call from law enforcement to help find someone.  The time we spend working with the team and training the dogs is priceless.   We know, that one day, we will get that phone call to help a family.

Considering the above, the team mimics a ‘real life’ situation whether in an urban or wilderness setting.  Therefore, you need to be prepared to deal with all aspects of being in the woods…bugs (ticks are the worst, while mosquitoes and snakes are just as bad).  You will run into wildlife too!  Therefore, know in advance what you will face out in the woods, bring bugspray!!!  Other articles to bring / wear…hiking boots, hat, gloves, change of socks or clothes (you might get wet), cell phone, radio (HAM or two way), something to sit on (blanket or chair), and last but not least FOOD & WATER!

We are a team. You are never alone.  We all work together for the benefit of the dogs and the team.  If you feel you can handle the above, reach out.  A search and rescue team would be honored to have you out for a visit.