Answers to some common questions; please contact us if you have additional inquiries.
How do I contact you if someone is lost?
Call 911. We are deployed by the King County Sheriff as required for their search and rescue responses.
Can you find my lost pet?
No. Our dogs are taught to find people and to ignore distractions such as other animals so unfortunately we are not able to help.
How much are you paid?
Nothing. We are a 100% volunteer organization and our members pay for their veterinary bills, transportation costs and their personal equipment.
What kinds of dogs do you use?
Many dog breeds can become great search dogs. KCSD currently has a large number of german shepherds, labrador retrievers and golden retrievers but includes all-american dogs and even a nova scotia duck tolling retriever.
Do you catch criminals?
No. There are Police and Sheriff K9 units specially trained to track and subdue suspects. While KCSD periodically helps law enforcement officials search for human remains at crime scenes, our dogs are not trained to find weapons, explosives or drugs.
Do the dogs like to search?
They love it. All our trailing and airscent dogs are taught to search as a game and are rewarded with toys or treats when they are successful.
Does it take much training?
KCSD members train 200 to 350 hours per year. There are several formal training sessions per week during the 18 to 24 months it takes to certify a search dog for actual missions and most handlers do additional work on their own. KCSD Members also complete, and periodically renew, the full core curriculum of the King County Search and Rescue Association that includes search techniques, survival, communications, navigation, helicopter safety, crime scene management and first aid.
Where can I see the KCSD dogs?
We enjoy sharing our enthusiasm for our dogs and regularly do demonstrations at camps, schools and fairs that include important safety lessons. Email us at email@example.com if you are interested in more information.
Can I help?
Yes. The most important thing you can do is not get lost. There are some useful guidelines on our website for wilderness safety. KCSD is a 501(c)3 non-profit and is totally dependent on support from the community. There are several ways you can help outlined on our donation page.
Can I join?
KCSD periodically accepts applications for new members. Check our website, facebook page and twitter account for updates. New members do not have to have a dog but be aware that this is not a casual commitment. The time required for missions and training is significant and becomes part of our members’ lifestyle. Most unsuccessful candidates leave because the demands do not fit their already busy family and work schedules.
My dog would be a great search dog: What should I do?
Beginning KCSD dogs (and their owners) are high drive, biddable, agile and (the dogs) are typically less than two to three years old. You can contact our membership committee for more information about joining KCSD and depending on your interests and where you live you can also explore search dog units in other Washington counties (e.g. Snohomish, Kittitas, Pierce, Kitsap) or specialty units such as Northwest Disaster Search Dogs or Backcountry Avalanche Rescue K9s in addition to King County Search Dogs.