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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals, Disaster Aid, Disaster Preparedness & Relief Services, Emergency Medical Services & Transport, Health, Search & Rescue Squads

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.

Programs: Produced dogs trained in search and rescue with fire fighter handlers directly influencing how disaster search dogs are trained nationally.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In April 1995 retired schoolteacher and gym coach Wilma Melville and her black Labrador Retriever search dog, Murphy, rushed to the site of the terrorist bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. At that time they were one of only 15 Advanced Certified disaster search dog-handler teams in the United States, and that glaring need made Melville determined to find a way to train highly skilled canine teams. So in 1996 she founded the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.
All of the search dogs are rescues, canines eager for a job and filled with untapped energy. The NDSDF works with dozens of shelters and breed rescue groups to place and train hundreds of dogs. The organization has deployed teams to respond to a wide range of disasters, from tornados and mudslides to building explosions and train derailments.
Working tirelessly for years the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation has raised millions of dollars, with no government funding, to build the nation's first permanent national training center for search dogs on 125 acres in the Southern California foothills.
This is an incredible organization of selfless, lifesaving individuals performing a mission to save lives across the country and around the world.
For many years I was Senior Editor of DOG FANCY magazine, and during that time I spent time with many wonderful guide dog and rescue organizations, but no organization finer than the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

NDSDF takes dogs that nobody wants and turns them into the best trained search dogs in the country, if not the world. Not only is this the humane thing to do, but from a business model its amazing! Other kennels pay thousands of dollars for a puppy and won't know for up to a year if it has what it takes to do this job, while the Search Dog Foundation finds the dogs with this attributes and RESCUES them for pennies on the dollar. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED SDF!!!

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is the best nonprofit that I have ever been associated with. Every person and canine that works, volunteers or is associated with this foundations not only gives 100% but becomes extremely passionate with the work and it shows in the product that is produced. Their customer service is incredible and when you work with the team you truly feel like family. I can't say enough incredible things about everyone and the integrity of this foundation.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am so honored to be a part of one of the best nonprofits organizations in America! To take a canine, oftentimes rescues from shelters/pounds, and give them a job they are so innately good at is simply remarkable. As a member of one of FEMA's 28 Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces, I can say that our job of finding and rescuing missing people in a disaster would be much more difficult without the use of these highly trained canines. The use of cameras and audio devices is not as efficient and reliable as the nose of these canines. The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is committed to training the best canines in the country. This is evident with their state of the art training facilities, exceptional trainers, support staff, and volunteers.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Sacramento SPCA has had the pleasure of working with the National Search Dog Foundation (SDF) for the past two years to successfully place a dozen dogs with their organization. SDF is a joy to work with; their staff is organized and quite helpful in our efforts to place difficult dogs.
We often receive dogs that are not easily placed. They are often very focused and driven canines who can be difficult to manage in a typical family home environment. We are confident placing any dog with SDF as we know that even if they do not successfully make it through all of the search dog training; they will be placed in a permanent, responsible and loving home.
The Sacramento SPCA is proud to partner with SDF and look forward to many more years of working together to help change the lives of both dogs and people.
-Lizz Westphal, Rescue Coordinator, Sacramento SPCA