Our Mission

To provide, without cost, trained search and rescue personnel and K9s to the law enforcement agencies of Vermont and New Hampshire to assist in their efforts to locate lost and missing persons.

Search Skills

NEK9 is an airscent K9 team with over 37 years of search experience. At most  search calls, we provide 5-10 K9 teams with field assistants/medical support from the Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team (UVWRT). In addition to K9 teams, we provide our own radio communications, computer support, mapping software, and live GPS tracking. Each team will efficiently and effectively search a minimum of 80-160 acres in the first shift of 3-4 hours.  Teams are managed by an Operational Leader (OL) who works closely with search management.

All our teams are certified in finding both live and deceased subjects located on land, under water, snow and debris. Teams are proficient at man-tracking, clue awareness and crime scene preservation.

Organization Description & History

Founded in 1981, New England K-9 Search & Rescue is an all-volunteer wilderness K-9 search & rescue organization of 15-20 members. We provide life-saving assistance at no cost to the citizens and law enforcement agencies of Vermont and New Hampshire. We respond to nearly 50 searches a year for lost elderly, children and hikers.

Our handlers cover all their personal expenses: dog care [food, health], outdoor equipment, and travel costs for training and searches. We specialize in hasty response – meaning our teams are on the road within 15 minutes of call-out. In addition to wilderness lost-person searches, we train for local disaster response for live and dead victims whether it is a dam collapse where we search debris, a snow-collapsed shopping center, or a serious flood. All our dogs are trained to find victims whether living or deceased – whether on land, drowned, or buried under snow or debris.

In addition to our primary role as a search & rescue organization, New England K-9 Search & Rescue has made a strong commitment to educating children and adults about outdoor safety. We reach over 1500 school children yearly with presentations, search demonstrations with our dogs, and take home “Lost Proofing” literature. These programs are provided free of charge by our members.

What Happens When We Are Called

For most searches, we’ll be able to send 6-10 certified airscent dog/handler teams. Many teams will be on the road within 15 minutes of our callout. This initial response gives search management the opportunity to search the first 1/2 mile of land surrounding the point last seen within 4-6 hours and they’ll only be managing a small number of trained resources.

At every search, one of our senior handlers acts as OL (operational leader) for the unit. Together with search management, the OL will assign our teams based on the terrain and type of search situation. We also provide our own communications base operations (1-3 radio operators) with mapping software and GPS technology for precise placement of teams in the field and for recording and analyzing coverage of areas searched.

Additionally, when NEK-9 SAR is activated for a search, we bring in field assistants and ground search/wilderness medical support from the Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team. Since 1998, NEK-9 SAR and UVWRT have formed a highly successful cooperative training and deployment relationship designed to provide ground search support for navigating with dog/handler teams while searching, and then taking medical control of any found subjects.All of our services are provided FREE to law enforcement and the families of those who are lost or missing.

Partnering Agencies

NEK9 must be activated for searches by the Agency Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). These are the agencies we work with in our primary service area: