Professional Memberships & Affiliations:
Maryland Task Force 1 Urban Search & Rescue
Canine Search Specialist; Lead Evaluator & Mentor
International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP)
United Schutzhund Club of America
Battlefield Working Dog Club
Search and Rescue Assist Board Member (S.A.R.A)
German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of America
Search and Rescue Dogs of North America (SDONA)
Canadian Kennel Club
The International Cat Association (TICA)
Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
1995-2012 Pennsylvania Task Force 1 U.S.A
Canine Search Specialist; Certified Type 1 (Advanced)
Certified FEMA US&R K9's, Lead Evaluator & Mentor
September 11, 2001 World Trade Center
Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers
German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada
Agility Association of Canada
Ontario Dock Dogs
Thousand Islands Dock Dogs
CKC Canine Good Neighbour Evaluator
AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
American Rescue Dog Association (ARDA)
Pennsylvania SAR Dogs ARDA (founding member)
Huntingdon County Sheriffs Posse SAR
Blair County Search & Rescue
S.T.R.I.K.E. K9 SAR
Pennsylvania Search & Rescue Council Secretary
Canine Comfort of Canada Therapy Dog Evaluator
Hug A Tree Presenter, Canadian Cat Association
My life with Dogs
As a child I grew up with a love of all things organic, animals of all types, plants and a very real appreciation for nature. There were many large and small dogs in my life as a child and young person. I attended my first obedience group classes offered by a local kennel club near Ashland, Pennsylvania in 1980 and was hooked on dog training. My first German Shepherd puppy Shelly started me on the path with these wonderful dogs. What started out as simple games of hide and seek unknowingly laid the foundation for a lifetime career in volunteer and professional SAR work.
As my interest search and rescue grew, I joined several different local search and rescue teams. In 1995, I joined the Pennsylvania Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 1 - PATF1 as a Canine Search Specialist and was one of the remaining original K9 Handlers on the job in 2012. Along the way I became an Evaluator and Mentor for the FEMA US&R system as well as. In 2012 I transferred to Maryland Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1- MDTF1. There are 26 teams across the country as part of Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency program designed specifically to find and rescue people trapped in disaster situations. These teams respond at a federal level to natural tragedies such as earthquakes, hurricanes or man made disasters of bombings or terrorist attacks.
In 1995 I purchased my first working line German Shepherd puppy Logan. In 1996 Logan was the second dog to be certified in Pennsylvania as a Type 2 FEMA Disaster Search and Rescue Canine. Logan had several Federal deployments with PATF1 including searching the first nine days of the World Trade Center tragedy on 9/11. She passed away in December of 2005 after a long and rewarding career as a search & rescue dog; a link to her memorials can be found on the links page.
Faza a Czech import female later followed in Logans paw prints and certified as a Type 1 as a FEMA Disaster Search and Rescue Canine. We responded to to Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts in fall of 2005 and Ike and Gustav hurricanes in 2008 even though we lived in Ontario Canada at the time. Faza was a 2008 Canadian Nationals Schutzhund competitor as well; she was a special dog with many talents. She died at a very young age of 8 of the disease degenerative myelopathy, DM. This incredible loss (which is avoidable through proper breeding and DNA testing) made me passionate about health testing in my breeding program.
All the dogs I've trained and worked with have been special in their own individual way. I am currently working on more FEMA USAR certifications with Sevan and HRD FEMA USAR certifications with her mother Talen. Ironically Sevan will be the "seventh" dog to achieve FEMA FSA qualifications. No, it wasn't planned :) just a coincidence ! Other FEMA dogs I've had along the way besides Logan and Faza are Hardy, Ben, Vorian and Rehya. Along with Disaster Search and Rescue training we also have competed in obedience, Schutzhund, Rally, Herding Instinct Tests, and Dock Diving with a many of the dogs.
In 2002 when I married and moved to Ontario Canada, I started a family pet dog training business now called Cold Creek Dog Training teaching the same attention work and focus I use in SAR training for everyday attention. In Canada I worked closely with Toronto Police Dog Services and Ontario Provincial Police Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Programs assisting with their first National K9 certifications for handlers all across Canada. In 2012, I moved back to Pennsylvania, settling in Gettysburg with my 5 dogs, 4 Maine Coon cats and kittens (I also breed and show as Cold Creek Maine Coons) , 2 Black Clydesdales Willie and Flossie and 3 peacocks.
One of my true joys is breeding, raising and training the Working German Shepherd. I also find it really rewarding to train and re-home dogs for a better place in working dog environments or families. Dogs from my breeding and relocations are actively used in police departments and Urban Search and Rescue Programs in Canada and US as well as the Seeing Eye Inc. in New Jersey.
I hope you will enjoy browsing the pages and reading about the dogs.
The pics below are just a few of our home and life together
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