Join, volunteer or donate

Give… so that others may live!

As was evident after the tragedy of 9/11 and other major man-made and natural disasters, it is critical that we maintain the resource of highly-trained disaster search dog teams in our community and our nation.

Whether dog handler or support personnel, all members of NDSD feel a strong commitment to the mission and freely volunteer our time as we consistently strive to increase our level of expertise.

On average, our dog handlers train over 400 unpaid hours per year, in addition to our regular day jobs! We are what the search and rescue community calls unpaid professionals: our members are highly-trained, certified and ready to go out of the door to respond to a disaster in a short moments notice.

How can you help? You can:


    • Make a donation
    • Provide a training site
    • Volunteer to hide for our dogs at training
    • Become a member


Join the search!


Interested applicants should contact NDSD to begin the application process. Please send an email to noting your interest in applying. In your email, please mention whether you would like to join as a canine handler or as a support person. In general we encourage applicants without prior K9 SAR experience to join without a dog first. There are many skills to learn for the candidate member before being able to train and handle a dog. NDSD has many experienced handlers and trainers that will be happy to assist a candidate or full member with finding a suitable dog.


Our membership coordinator will reply to interested parties as soon as possible and will send an application form and information package explaining all details about our path to full membership.
All our members need to pass a background check with Pierce County Sheriff’s department and apply for an emergency worker card with the Department of Emergency Management. Our membership coordinator will assists with this after receiving the  application.

Candidate Member

If the application was successful, the applicant becomes a candidate member. Over the next six months the candidate should attend as many training sessions as possible (general minimum requirements: 70% of Saturday training sessions, 70% of Thursday training sessions and 50% business meetings). The candidate member needs to maintain training logs and begin taking available core classes. After 6 months the candidate member is evaluated on attitude, attendance, eagerness to learn, etc. and the team will vote on full membership or an extension of candidate membership. If full membership is granted, the member may request a K9 evaluation of their dog when applicable and if the K9 passes the evaluation, the member will become a K9 Team Candidate.

K9 Team Candidate

It is to the K9 Team’s benefit to attend as many training sessions as possible. A minimum of 50% of Saturday and 50% of Thursday training sessions need to be participated in. During this time period the team will be evaluated on attitude, K9 progress, and attendance. At the end of the three-month period, NDSD’s full members will discuss all aspects of the K9’s progress, problems and possibilities and will vote whether to accept the K9 into the K9 Team Training Program. In some cases NDSD might decide to prolong the K9 Team Candidates period by another 3 month.

Full Member

Acceptance as a Full member will be based on the attitude and work ethic of the candidate member, as well as the progress and potential of the dog if applicable. Full members need to sign a yearly contract and pay their yearly dues. NDSD expects their members to attend 50% of all Training sessions and 50% of all Business Meetings. Full members also need to pass a yearly Fitness Test.

Furthermore members are also expected to help at official search dog demos and with raising funds, finding training areas and helping with all other day to day NDSD business.

If you think NDSD is for you, we’d be glad to have you apply!