VSRDA recently revised the applicant process and will have the details on how to apply for membership on this page soon.  In the meantime, please contact us with any questions or click here to search for other K9 team openings in your area. Following please find information about the various positions on the team.

  1. Dog Handler - As a volunteer dog handler, VSRDA will provide you with the Necessary Skills to prepare both yourself and your canine to pass the rigorous series of tests necessary to become an operational dog handler within the unit. As a K9 Handler you will learn:
    • land navigation techniques
    • radio communications
    • advanced first aid
    • scent theory
    • search strategies
    • the necessary skills to train your canine to locate missing persons and excel in both advanced obedience and agility 
    Once you and your canine have passed the series of tests for wilderness certification, training is also provided for both you and your canine to specialize in disaster, cadaver, and drowning search and rescue disciplines. An operational search and rescue volunteer must be capable of walking long distances in dense underbrush and steep terrain while carrying a fully loaded pack.
     
  2. Support Personnel - As support personnel your assistance can be utilized in a variety of areas. Support Personnel typically cannot have SAR dogs for various reasons, but still want to be involved with SAR K9s. For example, training is provided for members to learn base camp operations and/or the necessary skills to act as an escort to a dog/handler team. If you choose to volunteer in either of these capacities, VSRDA will provide you with the necessary training to master land navigation techniques, radio communications, advanced first aid, scent theory and search strategies.

Please read our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information about VSRDA membership.