Dogs make wonderful
companions and loving additions to many families. Dogs also provide valuable
public services by participating in police, fire and search and rescue
Massachusetts Rescue and Recovery K9 Unit, Inc. (MARK9) is a charitable, non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer canine
search and rescue (SAR) organization based in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
and operating throughout the New England area. Search dog teams sponsored by
MARK9 are trained to respond to a variety of emergency response events including
wilderness searches and urban disasters. Whether it is a child who wanders away
from his family's campsite and is hopelessly lost, or a backpacker who
disappears in a state park, MARK9 can aid in the rapid location and return of
lost or injured citizens. MARK9 search dog teams currently are preparing to
respond to known human recovery operations.
A disaster or
emergency event happens somewhere every day....
One of our members is affiliated
with FEMA Massachusetts Task Force 1 (MA TF-1), one of twenty-six Urban Search
and Rescue Task Forces authorized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA's USAR Task Force has been a major search and rescue resource in our
country for many years. Search dog teams affiliated with FEMA have responded to
many of the recent national disasters including Hurricanes Andrew and Hugo, the
Northridge earthquake and the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center bombings. One
of our canine handlers fields a search dog which is certified at FEMA Level I,
the highest of the FEMA certification levels and making them one of less than
fifty search dog teams in the country which are currently certified at FEMA
Advanced Level I.
The key to a
successful rescue is quickly locating the missing person....
Our search dogs are
non-discriminatory "air scenting dogs" which search off-lead for generic human
scent in the wind. Each person sheds rafts, or dead skin cells, which contain
his or her scent. "Air scenting dogs" are conditioned to use their noses to
search for that scent and then follow it back to the source. Search dog teams
across the country have been indispensable in rapidly locating lost or missing
citizens. As minutes can mean the difference between life and death to people
lost and injured in the woods or trapped in the devastation following an urban
disaster, rapid deployment of qualified search dog teams is crucial.
In order for
search dog teams to be qualified to respond to an emergency event, each canine
and handler spends hundreds of hours refining their skills....
The training of MARK9 search dogs
includes canine agility, working off leash, directional control, exposure to
unfamiliar surroundings, perfecting the dog's alert behavior and conducting mock
search problems. MARK9 handlers develop compass, radio and survival skills which
enable them each to be self-sufficient in the field for at least three days.
Several of MARK9 handlers are EMTs or Paramedics, most are first responders,
and all have completed Basic First Aid and CPR. Only search dog teams which
have passed MARK9 and MASSARDF's rigorous Canine Certification Testing Process
are considered fully operational by MARK9 in the event of an emergency response
Seasoned search dogs
perform competently in actual missions if they are routinely exposed to
unfamiliar surroundings during training....
Wilderness training is performed
regularly in the many state parks located throughout the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. In addition, several local municipalities and businesses over
the years have allowed access to their facilities for search dog
training. This allows the canines to be challenged by new and different
surroundings, which is a significant benefit in the overall preparation of
qualified search dog teams.
dogs take years to train and the cost of that training is absorbed by the
It has been said that if one were
to put an hourly wage on the time put in to the training of a SAR dog, the cost
of that highly-trained search dog would exceed $18,000 to $26,000. That is a
tremendous public service that each MARK9 member provides to the community,
especially as the individual handler absorbs most of this cost as MARK9 does not
charge for its services. All MARK9 search efforts are donated to the public
agency requesting MARK9's services.
therefore greatly help in off-setting the huge financial burden placed on each
Local businesses whose
contributions have benefited MARK9's Canine Search Program include:
Brox Industries, Inc.
Bardon Trimount, Inc.
Testa Construction Company, Inc.
Especially for Pets, Inc.
Other local businesses who have contributed materials that have aided in the
training of MARK9 search dog teams include:
Massachusetts Water Resource Authority
Weston Tennis & Racket Club, Inc.
If your business or
company is able to support our efforts, please contact MARK9 at 978.707.9454
Who sends the dogs when an
Massachusetts State Police, local police and fire departments, county
officials, if the emergency can be handled locally
Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (in
response to a larger incident )
Who are the dog handlers?
Massachusetts Rescue and Recovery K9 Unit, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable corporation whose purpose
.......dogs and their volunteer handlers
.......the public and governmental agencies through publications
.......its members with hand-held radios and other
.......its members through contributions raised
to equip and train search dog teams
For further information about making a donation to
assist MARK9 in its volunteer efforts, please contact us:
fill out and return this form:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Enclosed is my contribution for $ ____________
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!
Please make your contribution payable to:
Massachusetts Rescue and Recovery K9 Unit, Inc.
P.O. Box 1045
Pepperell, MA 01463-1045
(Tax ID# Upon Request)
THANK YOU FOR MAKING MORE WILDERNESS SEARCH
DOGS POSSIBLE BY.......
* MARK9 is a growing organization. Positions are available for field assistants
and wilderness dog handlers. Training is provided by MARK9 but all travel cost
and equipment purchases, both of which are integral parts of this work, must be
borne by individual members.
MARK9 is based in Massachusetts but call-out to
any location within New England (or beyond) is possible.
* Help with special office projects like database entry or mailings.
* Hide for MARK9 dogs.
Massachusetts Rescue and Recovery K9 Unit