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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, Inc.

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

Community Stories

39 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

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

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

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"!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

What can I do but echo all of the wonderful things that have already been said here? Like many others, I discovered SDF right after the Twin Towers attack while searching for an organization in need of support. For my late husband and I, both animal lovers, the dogs were the only bright spot in the incredibly disturbing footage of the disaster. Reports of bogus non-profits were already circulating, but SDF stood out like a shining star. I have since become a huge fan and, while my budget does not allow equally huge donations, I am still treated like donor royalty. I have worked in non-profits and know that staff is usually small with volunteers picking up a big part of the work load. It is always amazing and gratifying to receive such immediate, heartfelt and personal acknowledgement of my semi-annual donations and frequent feedback. I am privileged to have communicated via email with The Terrific Trio.....Wilma, Debra and Rhett......on a regular basis and consider them dear friends. What Wilma has accomplished continues to boggle the mind, and I'm sure she still hasn't peaked. SDF and its people are a class act. The organization should be used as the template for re-organizing existing non-profits and starting up new ones.
Juanita in NJ

Review from Guidestar

Nicole Marie S.

Donor

Rating: 5

The National Search Dog Foundation is committed to strengthening disaster response in America through the recruitment and training of search dog teams – it’s a mission that Woodmen of the World stands behind and supports, as we’ve been providing relief for natural disasters since 1900.

Every person that we came in contact with at the SDF shared a passion and love for the work they do – and that passion was passed to our associates, families and friends. We’ve been truly amazed at the talent and abilities of both the trainers and their search dogs! We look forward to seeing what great things they have planned for the future.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My employer has an employee charitable contribution campaign each year. There are several animal charities to select for contributions. I want you to know that in the past two years, I changed the animal organization to which I donated twice because the last two organizations never acknowledged my donations. I contributed every month for a full year, and never heard even a basic "Thank You" from them.

This year, I changed my donation once again, and selected SDF, although I was unfamiliar with the organization. Shortly after the first donation, I received a most impressive letter co-authored by the SDF Executive Director, Debra Tosch, and one of their SDF Search Dog Candidates, Crockett! Crockett's paw print was in the signature line of the letter. After I wiped our 17-year-old daughter's, my wife's and my eyes, I committed to contributing to this organization from now on.

Just this simple acknowledgement meant so much and the personality of the organization's leadership won our hearts. I am very convinced of SDF's value to the Search & Rescue Community. However, I am also now convinced of the quality and personability of the organizations's staff.

I recommend everyone to look into contributing to this great organization!

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been making gifts to this organization for about 10 years. They are wonderful, dedicated people from top to bottom and they are excellent stewards of their donor contributions. I am delighted to see them earn the top 4 star rating from Charity Navigator.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

SDF is the only organization in the United States that partners rescued dogs with firefighters and trains them at no cost to the government or tax-payers.
It's a win-win situation all the way. This organization receives no help what so ever from the Government.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

I wanted to find a non-profit organization I could donate to after the tragedy of 9/11. National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, Inc. was a perfect choice for me because I love the fact this organization is a double blessing in that first the dog is rescued, then people are rescued. SDF ensures lifetime care for every dog in their program. Once a rescued dog is accepted into SDF's program, that dog will never need to be rescued again. SDF's mission is to strengthen disaster response in America by recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. This organization also offers the professionally trained canines an ongoing training program at no cost to fire departments.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

If I had more to give, or could personally give my time and effort to this group, I would. Without question, humble, smart, dedicated and extremely gracious for any and all support. SDF does not inundate you with immediate requests, instead, they thank you appropriately and communicate when the time is right and needed. It makes you feel like you are actually working with them and the dogs, and not just a check book for the day to day. I save my thank you letters with paw prints and actual hand notes and signatures. I only wish to never have to be face to face with one of the life saving teams they build, and in the event I'd be in a rescue needing that dedication, four paws, a wet nose, with one goal to work and save, would be awesome.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

The NSDF is an exceptional organization. Its commitment to rescuing dogs, partnered with first responders and trained to save lives is truly inspiring. In 2012, my husband and I became sponsors of two Search Teams in Texas. Our contribution has been so warmly and graciously acknowledged by both the corporate office and the Search Team handlers. We will continue to support the fine efforts of the NSDF and look forward to tracking the development of our Sponsoree Dogs.

saabitbol

Donor

Rating: 5

National Search Dog Foundation is a model nonprofit that really understands how to communicate and engage their customers. My family adopted a dog from their Lifetime Care program and have also been donors. They consistently and effectively keep in touch with us, they care about the dogs that have been connected to the foundation and they run an extremely effective nonprofit. I would highly recommend NSDF -- as a donor, a customer, and a community member. NSDF is truly top-notch.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

My son has adopted shelter dogs, so I know he will appreciate a donation in his honor to the Search Dog Foundation, an organization that provides an important tool for to assist humans when natural disasters strike. We support the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation because we know that many dog owners across the country qualify their own animals as search and rescue dogs as well as companion canines. The more search dogs that are trained, the better off we are.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The NDSDF is one of the most admirable charitable organizations I have had the pleasure of working with. The staff of the NDSDF is professional, dedicated and hardworking, and strives, on a daily basis, to maintain their goal of excellence. Their effort and support during disasters is invaluable.

Review from CharityNavigator

1 Heidi19

Donor

Rating: 5

I am one of the canine recruiters on staff for SDF. It is tremendously fulfilling to meld my personal passion for animal rescue with community service, and to be involved with this organization.

I became involved with SDF many years ago while volunteering in the Labrador Retriever Rescue community, finding potential search dog candidates while visiting animal shelters. I became an estate donor after the passing of my husband. And I joined staff in the summer of the same year, giving my life new purpose. My late husband was extremely involved in, and supportive of my rescue endeavors, so in many ways my work honors his memory.

SDF is a lean organization, accomplishing much with a small paid staff and a wonderful army of volunteers. The vision is clear and there is much to do to recruit and train enough search dogs to meet the needs of the disasters that will inevitably come. I can’t encourage anyone enough to support our foundation. What a meaningful way to assure your legacy…and possibly save someone’s life.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 5

After my decision to make a donation to this truly amazing foundation for what they accomplish everyday in the rescuing of canines & training these amazing animals to rescue lives when disaster strikes, I was very impressed to first receive a "Thank You" Letter for my donation followed by a "Thank You" phone call by one of their wonderful Volunteers ! Not only was this a nice surprise to be thanked for what I did more than once, it was almost shocking also never to be pressured to send more... This is an organization that does more than words can express, thanks to its Founder Wilma Melville and her vision to see a winning situation and make it happen.... Judy H.

Ann_234

Donor

Rating: 5

Our family has been a supporter of Search Dogs for several years even before 9-11. We absolutely adore the mission of Search Dogs and are very pleased and proud to support such a wonderful organization.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

Thank you SDF, for a respectful and inspiring 9 11 memorial event. It is evident by the number of handlers and search dogs now based in multiple states, in a relatively short time, that SDF is utilizing contributions in a focused manner, and in direct support of the SDF mission statement: to strengthen disaster response in America by recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters.
Thank you SDF for all of your efforts, and making possible first responders partnered with trained search dogs for our country.
I am honored to be a part of the search. Jamie/Donor and Volunteer

Review from CharityNavigator