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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 missions....

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 event.  

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. 

Seasoned search dogs take years to train and the cost of that training is absorbed by the individual handler....

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.

Contributions therefore greatly help in off-setting the huge financial burden placed on each dog handler.  

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 (cell).



Who sends the dogs when an emergency strikes?

  • 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?

  • All volunteers

  • Many are professional firefighters

  • Others are civilian volunteers  


Massachusetts Rescue and Recovery K9 Unit, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable corporation whose purpose is to:  

.......dogs and their volunteer handlers

.......the public and governmental agencies through publications and seminars


.......its members with hand-held radios and other  training devices

.......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:

Phone           978.707.9454
Email            president@mark9.us 

Or, fill out and return this form:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *




Enclosed is my contribution for $ ____________




Please make your contribution payable to:  
 Massachusetts Rescue and Recovery K9 Unit, Inc.
Mailing address:  
P.O. Box 409  
Harvard, MA 01451 

(Tax ID# Upon Request)


* MARK9 is a growing organization. Positions are available for ground searchers and support personnel, as well as wilderness dog handlers. MARK9 trains (twice weekly) as a team, but all travel cost and equipment purchases, both of which are integral parts of this work, are 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. 


You can donate via PayPal:

Thank you to everyone who selected MARK9 as a charity in Amazon Smile. The contributions from Amazon contribute for each purchase that you made are very appreciated.

Massachusetts Rescue and Recovery K9 Unit


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