Grafton Volunteer Fire Department Hosts K-9 Search And Rescue Cl - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Grafton Volunteer Fire Department Hosts K-9 Search And Rescue Clinic

Posted: Updated:
GRAFTON -

The Search and Rescue dogs of the United States have been holding clinics and evaluations around the country since 1992.

This is the first year that SARDUS has come to Camp Towles in Grafton.

The Grafton Volunteer Fire Department received a grant from Dominion Hope and the American Kennel Club, allowing it to host its first SARDUS Search and Rescue clinic.

"We're doing this because we think it's really important to have outside, national level certification so our dogs are being tested at the very highest levels," said Grafton Fire Department K-9 Handler Becky Stanevich.

SARDUS is a non-profit national association that provides certification, training, and education for search and rescue dog teams.

It travels around the country to hold clinics and evaluations.

"We're putting on regional clinics that are used to both teach and evaluate to the SARDUS standard," SARDUS Board Member Ann Wichmann. "Try to build up the understanding of working a good search dog and being able to respond to lost person emergencies."

The four-day clinic consists of educational stations, evaluating, and testing the dogs for various purposes.

Some are trained to be air-scenting dogs or human-remains dogs while others are trained for tracking and trailing.

"The tracking and trailing dogs are on a lead and they will follow that specific scent so you'll see them working in front of their handler," Stanewich said.

SARDUS representatives said it is important to have certified Search and Rescue teams in every state.

"West Virginia is a wonderful state," Wichmann said. "I grew up in Pennsylvania myself so I know how easy it is to get lost in these hills and its great to have local responders that are qualified at a high standard to help people when they're lost."

The clinic and evaluation will continue until this Sunday, November 4.