SARDAA Team photograph taken September 9/18 - dogs in front (l to r) Twang, Shado, BB, Che, Ivy; front row (l to r) - Maryann and Yoyo, Paula, Steve and Zoeker, Mark, Kim and Remmy, David, Jenna, Jen and Sohke, Pam and Sophie, Meighan and Chase, Elisa and PaCe, Michelle and Parquetta; back row (l tor) - Lucy and Molly, Jennifer and Tango, Ron, Sam, Zara and Cinder. Photo credit - Jim Dobie Photography
Unavailable for the photo that day - Kate and Jenga, Lisa and Zane and Zero, Carlene and Jake and Milo, Mike and Kaya, Kerrie, Dawn, Don, Cara, Anita, Carla and Roo.
Celebrating 30 years of excellence in K9 SAR
…. by founding member, Michelle L. Limoges
SARDAA is a very fortunate organization. Growing from merely six members in 1989, our membership has increased substantially over the last 30 years. This is contrary to what some hoped would happen back in the early days!!! But there are many other reasons why we are fortunate– we typically have 25 to 30 members at any given time. The membership consists of a diverse group of people who bring a variety of valuable talents to us. We pick dog/handler teams carefully, making sure the dogs have the aptitude for the work and that the handlers are a good fit. For the most part, everyone gets along well since we afford each other a high level of respect, cooperation and share a common desire to provide an important SAR resource to authorities and to advocate for civilian SAR dogs. Continuity in an organization is important – SARDAA has several long-term members who have over 12 years of service, one member with 25 years, and another with 30 years. We are fortunate because we have stable financial resources but even more important, we are fortunate to have a solid structure consisting of our Training Standards, SOPs and Personnel Handbook. Our new member process is thorough, giving all new members every opportunity to accomplish the goals laid out for them in our program. Each member has levels of training and time lines to follow, augmented by regular progress reviews. Training is of course at the heart of our activities. We all thoroughly enjoy our training activities and have a great time; the dogs have a blast. SARDAA can boast an accomplished Training Director who has decades of experience with SAR dog training, and with official searches. Mary Ann Warren guides our weekly training sessions for the entire team with alacrity. It’s an accomplishment to effectively plan weekly sessions where everyone is kept busy simultaneously with activities that address all levels of training from the puppy beginner to challenging exercises for the Active Level dog teams. Our Field Techs are also thoroughly trained by another accomplished member who is responsible for that task. SARDAA is very appreciative of our relationship with Edmonton Police Service who has deployed us continuously since 1992. We are fortunate to have had several successful finds for them over the years and to have the EPS K9 Unit staff sergeant evaluate our Active Level dogs. Finally, we are fortunate because our Leadership is strong and dedicated to the mission and values of SARDAA – to provide trained resources to agencies in aid of the missing person.