Firstly, our apologies for the lapse in the K9SARA newsletter. Last year got so busy we could not keep up. Going forward we will make this a quarterly, to manage our time and still keep everyone up to date and informed.

2024 Started with quite a number of searches, with the K9’s performing well and locating two victims, bringing closure to their families. Our heart-felt condolences going to their loved ones.

K9SARA has two newly qualified dogs in KZN. We are proud to say, they have already been deployed locating the missing person, returning him safely home.

HR (human remains) detection or Victim recovery K9

Over the past year there has been an explosion in dogs training for Human Remains detection. This is in large part due to a leap in technology / science enabling trainers to capture the odour of human remains in a training aid for future use with the dog. Even though this method is now available, what it has not changed is the tissue being used to capture the odour. Most handlers are only able to use, teeth, hair, blood, nail clippings and maybe placenta. This method however has pitfalls:

  1. The items collected do not give a true scent profile of human remains to the dog. Therefore, the dog still has to be proofed on real human remains at some stage. In the meantime, how does the handler know the dog is actually looking for the right odour?
  2. Most of the items collected to load the odour on to the training aids, do not allow for decomposition and the changing scent profile that goes along with it.
  3. The HR dogs do not tend to be trained and habituated for a disaster environment such as floods and collapsed buildings and wilderness terrain.

Human remains detection dog working a crime scene

K9SARA victim recovery dogs are different.

We are proud to say that we have been afforded the situation where we can provide the dogs with a full and true scent profile of human remains including the decay process. Which means that, we 100% know our dogs are looking for human remains odour and in all 5 stages of the decomposition process.

We train our live find, victim recovery and dual purpose dogs in all environments they are likely to need to work in. This includes: Wilderness, mountain, disaster, collapsed building etc. We visit demolition sites, so they can be habituated to the noises, dust and disturbance of large machinery.

Our dogs are ready to deploy with no doubt in our mind that they are capable of finding live victims and decedents in any environment.

K9SARA victim recovery dogs

1. Victim recovery dog searching amongst wrecked vehicle and collapsed building in training. 2. Victim recovery dog assisting in a search after floods.

Cool dog of the month

Cool dog of the month is one of our newer trainees is, Scout.  Scout is 7 months old and started training with K9SARA in January 2024. She is our first English springer spaniel and has toy drive and motivation to search for days. Scouts handlers Cath and Mike make super additions to the team and we look forward to seeing them all learn, have fun and qualify as K9 Search and Rescue Teams in the future.