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Strengthening disaster response in America
SDF rescues dogs and partners them with firefighters to find people buried alive during disasters. We ensure lifetime care for every dog in our program: once rescued, they will never need to be rescued again.
SDF was founded in 1995 by retired schoolteacher, Wilma Melville. In 1995, Wilma and her Advanced-Certified search dog were deployed to the site of the Oklahoma City bombing. Only one survivor was found by a dog, and it was clear that the country had a severe shortage of Canine Disaster Search Teams. Determined to do something about this alarming gap in our national disaster response network, Wilma founded the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation and designed a program based on the recruitment of rescued dogs and on a streamlined, professional training methodology. Her goal was to improve the way search dogs were chosen, trained, and to partner them with firefighters and other first responders.
To create these teams, SDF recruits rescued dogs from shelters and breed rescue groups, gives them professional training, and partners them with firefighters and other first responders at no cost to their departments. We ensure lifetime care for every dog in our program: once rescued, these dogs will never need to be rescued again.
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