National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, Inc.

Rating: 4.98 stars   66 reviews

Issues:

Location: 501 E Ojai Ave. Ojai CA 93023 USA

Mission: Our mission is to strengthen disaster response in America by producing highly skilled Canine-Firefighter Disaster Search Teams to search for victims of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. We are the only organization in the U.S. that recruits rescued dogs, gives them ongoing professional training, and partners them with firefighters and other first responders at no cost to their departments.
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EIN 77-0412509
888-459-4376
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I am continually amazed at the gratitude that National Disaster Search Dog Foundation responds with every time I am able to make a donation - no matter what size of a donation that is! Their personal response tells me that they truly deserve my support.

I first found the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation after the 9/11 tragedy and was (and still am) touched and impressed by what the search teams do for many across our country and abroad. I promise that I will continue to support their wonderful work and will keep spreading the word about Search Dog Foundation.

Bless you!
Melissa McGarry - Minnesota

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I just can't say enough expressing how amazing SDF is! I first heard about SDF after 911 and have followed their work since. I was so excited that their office is in Ojai was able to visit a few times. Working with SDF became my "dream job" and goal . I started out going to all their special events and got to know Wilma, she is a incredible lady and knows how to make her dreams come true. My life changed forever when I found out that The National Training Center was going to be built not only here in Santa Paula but right across the road from where I live !! I was so excited and it has been so incredible watching NTC being built. 2 years ago our family adopted Calvin a black lab who just wasn't thrilled about a rubble pile and looking for a lifetime care home. SDF has always kept in touch and even sent out trainer Lyz Gregory to work with me and Calvin. I needed a lot more training than Calvin did! Well that did it, after seeing Lyz work with Calvin I was so impressed that I was determined to volunteer as often as I could. Lyz invited me to NTC , everyone was so friendly and really cared about the dogs . I saw my "dream job" !
For the last year I have volunteered once or twice a week to help out where I can. I have learned so much just being around Sonja and Lyz. They are the best! I have also taken many ,many photos of the dogs and I am so pleased to see some of the photos in SDF publications and Facebook . Everyone , trainers, office staff and fellow volunteers always make me feel like family and appreciated. They are the most professional and caring people I know. Thanks SDF for helping me live my dream !

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wish they had more help getting all the building done at NTC! It sure is taking a long time but it will be well worth the wait. I also forgot to mention purchasing SDF t shirts etc. from Search Dogs USA is so easy. Everyone there is really helpful and orders ship fast !

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

About eighteen months ago two of our three dogs, died a week apart. We were very sad and our third dog, George, became severely depressed. He would not eat or go for a walk or play with any dogs at the dog park. Soon we realized we had to find him a new friend. We told George that he could have any dog he wanted ; it was his choice.. We went around to several shelters and introduced him to a few dogs. Sometimes he growled at them. Other times he actually turned his back.
Then he met Topa who had begun training with the Search Dog Foundation, but was unable to complete her training. It was love at first sight and, today a year and a half later, they are still inseparable!
The search foundation has continued to be involved with Topa, sending food coupons and regularly keeping in touch. In the beginning when our high energy girl was difficult on walks, they even sent a trainer to help us. We still keep a close eye on her around strangers, but we live on both coasts and Topa is doing just fine living in two places and staying in different motels every night when on the road.
She seems happiest on our farm in CT, where she runs across the fields at full speed. We still keep a close eye on her around strangers, but this beautiful, playful dog enriches our lives every day and has many canine and human friends.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Can't think of any

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I was first told about SDF through my College. They said the Search Dog Foundation occasionally needed volunteer photographers and since I just graduated and love dogs I decided to try it out. Honestly I had no idea who they were and what they were about until I went to my first volunteer event. It was great fun but also very structured and informative. The staff was all very friendly and seeing the dogs in action was amazing. I have now photographed several events for them. They also asked me to join their team in Ojai and now I'm officially part of the SDF staff. I've gotten to know all of them and they are all very nice and hard workers. I have also been to pairings, when the dogs get paired with their new handlers, and that is one of the best things to see. I've interacted with several candidate dogs and they are all high energy, very barky but also very friendly and some of the sweetest dogs out there. I've also met the trainers who are very amazing. And I have met some of the people behind the scenes and of course Wilma the founder, who is something else. Very funny, lively and sweet. She also knows what she wants and how to get it. The Search Dog Foundation is truly an amazing organization.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I was first introduced to the Search Dog Foundation several years ago and have had the distinct privilege of meeting Wilma,many of the staff,trainers,handlers and dogs on several different occasions. I could not be any more impressed with the dedication and hard work of all those involved. From the early days of recruitment to the ultimate pairing of dogs with their human partners,there is an enormous amount of work that is done by a rather small work force. i have never seen an organization with the drive and desire to accomplish what these amazing men and women have done and continue to do on a daily basis. I am very proud to be "part of the search"!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change a thing

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I worked off and on volunteering with SDF, taking a break when I had school. Every time I came in they were ready for me with clear instructions and materials organised, and waiting for my help. I always felt appreciated and a part of the team even though my tasks were so minimal. On several occasions I had to cancel or was late for my volunteer time and I was never met with any disappointment, only understanding and appreciation for whatever time I could give. Everyone in the office is friendly and welcoming. I learned a lot about the role of the SDF and was surprised at the amount of personal care that is given to each individual involved in the program.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

It has been my pleasure to partner with SDF for the last 2 years. Our two organizations partner together to identify dogs that will either make great search dogs or when a career change is called for become great service dogs.
It has been an honor to work with SDF, even though our missions are different we both have the same purpose, SDF by finding those lost in a disaster and Operation Freedom Paws , by helping those lost to trauma return to everyday life.
So that others may live.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My company Smart Technology Enablers, Inc., has supported the organization's computers and networks for almost 10 years. Through that time we have watched the organization grow and mature. We enjoy working with them because they have a well-defined decision making process and always consider the business impact of the technology decisions.

Staff members have amazing commitment to the mission of the organization. We have personally witnessed how that commitment is infectious for both volunteers and donors. They are uniformly upbeat with an admirable "can-do" attitude.

The depth of the program side of the organization is impressive as they shepherd their search dogs through the recruitment process, training, certification and finally pairing with a first responder.

They are really one of the hardest working organization we know.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Like to see them get additional funding so they can address more opportunities to field search dog teams.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Living in Ojai I've always seen SDF when driving by but never knew what or how it was run. Then through a school post I saw they needed volunteers for the summer, so here was my chance! They do more than anyone can ever imagine, with their very amazing and dedicated staff just a handful of people run everything. We all see what the dogs are capable of when they are out searching for the people, but what goes into that to get them ready is absolutely amazing! I have to say I am very lucky to have been able to come in and volunteer with them and with the help of them I know what I want to do in my life. Thanks SDF!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

Having recently heard National Search Dog founder Wilma Melville's story about creating the Foundation, I want to say I am so impressed by this woman! She spoke of her organization's role in the Oklahoma bombings as well as 911 and the Haiti earthquake. At the time of Oklahoma, there were many fewer organizations like hers and since then she has worked tirelessly to grow the organization into the leader it is today. Maybe what impressed me most was Wilma's dedication, even through the horrors and tragedy that are part and parcel of the job. Obviously the NSDF has no interest in the whys behind such disasters. It's all about people---and dogs!----helping people. Seems to me there are few such non-profits whose contribution to the general public are as vital and clear cut as is NSDF.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar