An autistic child leaves the house unseen, a hunter or hiker goes missing, a patient from memory care wanders away, investigators get a new tip on a cold case. We provide specially trained dog/handler teams to assist public safety/law enforcement agencies in lost person searches - such as those described above. Established in 1981 as a 501(c)3 organization, MinnSARDA is the oldest canine search and rescue unit in the state of Minnesota. Our services are free of charge to requesting agencies. We primarily serve the state of Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area, but occasionally work in other states.
Please consider supporting MinnSARDA with a tax deductible donation in any amount. Gas cards and gift certificates for outdoor outfitters are also appreciated.
Teams are trained to work in three main areas:
About the Dogs
We most often start with puppies or young dogs since it takes a year and a half to two years to get them trained and ready to attempt certification. Typical retirement age is 8-10 years. Not all who begin training are able to successfully complete the requirements needed to become a certified SAR dog. When they are not working, our dogs are beloved members of our families.
Volunteer Handler requirements/skills:
As a small unit, expenses do add up. Unit members are unpaid volunteers and are financially responsible for all aspects of being a part of the unit. Teams train together most weekends year-round and on our own during the week. Significant travel is required. Field eligible teams must re-certify with an outside evaluator on an annual basis. Handlers must be first aid/CPR certified and must complete additional certifications - such as NASAR's SAR Tech and NIMS testing. At minimum, dogs must pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen. Responding to call-outs may require that we take time away from paid jobs. We are also responsible for purchasing any equipment we may need (such as GPS units, radios, appropriate all weather clothing, and various K9 gear). Of course, veterinary care for the dogs is critical to make sure they stay in top physical condition. We spend our time, money and efforts on these things because we believe that well-trained dog/handler teams can be a valuable asset in a search for a missing loved one and we want to serve our communities.