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Earlier this month I took a class on the "Fundamentals of Search and Rescue" I then took a written exam to attain my SARTECH III rating. Last Saturday I went for my practical exam and I am now a certified Search and Rescue Technician level II (SARTECH II).

The physical demands of both levels was within my comfort zone but still pushed me to the max a couple times mostly tromping thru the dense woods with only a compass to guide me and the requirement that I find and finish my route in under 2 hours. I also had a chance encounter with a set of yellow eyes shining in my headlamp when I was out in the woods looking for a "body" at 12am, I later heard, what I discovered was, the Coyote howling. Pulled more ticks off my person than I've ever had the pleasure of doing before and found that for some reason a 30# back pack feels like it weighs more than a 35# dog, who knew?

Soon I will be joining the K-9 Emergency Response Team and will start working Hawkeye as a Tracking/Trailing dog with them. He already has a very strong foundation from his ASCA and AKC Tracking titles and the head of the group seems excited to help me and Hawkeye get started in our endeavour.
 

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That is so cool! Big congratulations!

I've long wanted to try out SAR someday; I don't currently have a dog to do it with (training a 12 year old dog would be a bit pointless... and I'm in no position to get another dog soon) nor do I have the time--but... someday...
 

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That is so cool! Big congratulations!

I've long wanted to try out SAR someday; I don't currently have a dog to do it with (training a 12 year old dog would be a bit pointless... and I'm in no position to get another dog soon) nor do I have the time--but... someday...
Not sure where you are in the state of Michigan, but depending where you are, start training yourself NOW before getting a dog to do it. There's a lot to train yourself in before you train your dog as well. Most SAR teams require a lot of things before you even get to handle a dog for training. So keep that in mind. If you need any help, let me know. I'm currently training a SAR dog here in Michigan.
 

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Not sure where you are in the state of Michigan, but depending where you are, start training yourself NOW before getting a dog to do it. There's a lot to train yourself in before you train your dog as well. Most SAR teams require a lot of things before you even get to handle a dog for training. So keep that in mind. If you need any help, let me know. I'm currently training a SAR dog here in Michigan.
Detroit/Ann Arbor area during the summer, Grand Rapids area during the school year. Though I'll be out of the country this summer.

At this point all I can really do is learn from books, though if there's a group around GR I'd likely be able to start learning some things during the school year (depending on how many work hours I end up with around classes). The biggest issue there is that after I graduate next May, I have no idea where I'll be--it depends on if I start grad school immediately or just try to get a job or get a grant to do research abroad. Which... would seriously affect my ability to start training myself OR a dog very seriously.

And is the reason I'm in no position to get another dog for at -bare- minimum 2 to 3 years, and probably longer. Part of suspects I'll just foster for a few years when my current dog eventually passes if I'm in a situation suited to it, work out what I really want and need in a dog at that point in my life.
 

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Detroit/Ann Arbor area during the summer, Grand Rapids area during the school year. Though I'll be out of the country this summer.

At this point all I can really do is learn from books, though if there's a group around GR I'd likely be able to start learning some things during the school year (depending on how many work hours I end up with around classes). The biggest issue there is that after I graduate next May, I have no idea where I'll be--it depends on if I start grad school immediately or just try to get a job or get a grant to do research abroad. Which... would seriously affect my ability to start training myself OR a dog very seriously.

And is the reason I'm in no position to get another dog for at -bare- minimum 2 to 3 years, and probably longer. Part of suspects I'll just foster for a few years when my current dog eventually passes if I'm in a situation suited to it, work out what I really want and need in a dog at that point in my life.
Kent County Search and Rescue is WONDERFUL http://www.kentcountysar.org/ Most SAR teams go through them for their training. Contact them and it's never too early to start your own training. Some of the training can actually be used for college courses and it looks GREAT on resume's and it's all volunteer work so it looks GREAT for school as well. I'm not fond of the dog teams here in Michigan. One isn't bad but unless you can give half of your life to them, it's impossible to join, the other which is out of Kent Co. as well, allows dogs to preform searches without much training. Kent Co SAR is the way to go though.
 

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Congratulations! :)
 

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Hawkeye and I had our first training today with our group. They were very impressed with the training he already has under his belt. The coordinator's exact words were "He has a really really REALLY NICE foundation to work off of!" I was so happy to hear those words.

They laid a blind track for me and the only information I was given was that the person had walked out into the field/woods somewhere off of a half mile long groomed walking trail. So I had to scent him at the start of that trail, it started raining then, and we followed the trail for about a quarter mile when he then made a 90degree turn to the right into the field. He went about 200 yards and then alerted me to a whistle that had been hung on a small bush.

We then continued another 250 yards and entered a small marshy muddy depression only about 30 feet by 20feet in size he circled in the depression for a bit working the scent pool and also scaring up a grouse which he completely ignored after his initial startle. After about a minute he finally found the place where the person had exited the depression and continued thru a field. We went about another 250 yards and found the person sitting against a tree reading a book. Hawkeye got lots of scratches and butt rubs from his found person and got some treats from me, he was very pleased with himself!

He now has a 24" bully stick that I picked up on my way home.
They also asked me if I would like to attend a public relations event next weekend with him, I hope I can make it!

I also pulled three ticks off of me and five ticks off of him when we got home @[email protected]
 

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What a great day! This is awesome! It sounds like Hawkeye is great at this and together you are going to do very very well. Congrats! :)
 

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Wow! Very impressive for you and Hawkeye. Congratulations on you accomplishments - I'm sure there will be many more to come.
 

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That's awesome!! Congrats!

I have actually been considering this as an option for Dita once she is older - we definitely want her to be doing something - she is incredibly smart, and I would like to see her living up to her full potential. She is too big for agility (at least, she will be!), so we have been debating about film school training (seeing as we live in a city where there is a huge film industry), maybe some kind of frisbee competitions (not sure if she is going to be a great catcher though)...but recently, I have been seeing how much of a sniffer she is, and starting to think about SAR as a way to give her something that makes her fulfilled, but also that gives something more to the world than just another cute dog food commercial!!

I'm doing some local research, but may I just ask how you got into it, and at what age you started training?
 

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You know, as much as I always thought I wanted to do that, the ticks, wild animals and getting lost in the woods will keep me from it. I give you all the world of credit for doing it. It is a nobel persuit and anyone involved is a hero. The ones that really get to me are the cadaver dogs. I couldn't do that time and time again that is for sure.
 

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You know, as much as I always thought I wanted to do that, the ticks, wild animals and getting lost in the woods will keep me from it. I give you all the world of credit for doing it. It is a nobel persuit and anyone involved is a hero. The ones that really get to me are the cadaver dogs. I couldn't do that time and time again that is for sure.
I truly enjoy working the cadaver dogs. It's amazing to have a dog alert on a bone 30 years old. Or to find a tooth out in a field. Dogs are the greatest scenting resource you can ask for, and nothing beats a bond between k9 and handler.
 
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