Not a Hobby…….It seems to me that a lot of people think of SAR as a hobby…. I disagree. It is a lot of hard work and dedication. I am just starting out and can already tell you I have so much more to learn. Fortunately, because, of NAPWDA , I have made valuable connections. One group in North Dakota is willing to allow me to train with them, when the weather is a bit more conducive to traveling that far. From them I have learned more about lost person behavior and the importance of what areas of SAR I need to learn the most about, in my early stages. Basically they are providing me a framework or table of contents of how to start and where I will end up, if I follow their outline. To be frank it can be overwhelming how much there is that I have to learn. There is way more to K9 SAR than one would think. I also find it overwhelming as our group has certain standards, yet we can’t seem to focus on just one thing at a time. I am beyond blessed the group in ND has taken me under their wing and are helping me become a well round SAR volunteer. If I had not met them, I most likely would have burned out all ready. In our state there is not a specific standard, which makes one deployable. From what I understand it is more about training with the right individuals and creating a name for yourself to be able to be called to help in a crisis situation. The other thing I do find odd about SAR work in our area, is that is seems each group is its own entity and does not necessarily train with each other. I am hopeful to be a part of changing that. I Believe we have a lot we could learn from one another and if a huge crisis, god forbid, ever hit, how amazing would it be if we were already prepared to work with one another and knew the KSA’s (knowledge, skills and abilities) of each team? Or if our team received a call and were aware of perhaps a better handler and dog suited for that situation? For the next few months at least I plan on reaching out to those in my area and hopefully building a better network for SAR K9 handlers in our area. I also hope they will be willing to help a newbie, me, tag along and learn from them as well.