NEK9 asks a lot from its members and trainees. We jokingly say, “we are a looking for a few good fanatics who will marry us”. This is because training, certifying and then searching with your dog represents a significant commitment in time and energy. This commitment includes everyone within the unit —the trainee, their mentor, every other dog handler and all of the support personnel.
We are a small, select, skilled and dedicated group of men, women and dogs. The size of our unit places tremendous responsibility on each individual for the success of the whole. Therefore, any new trainee is accepted with great care. Sometimes we simply do not have space for new members at the time an individual makes application. We have learned that to maximize the training and searching opportunities needed to be successful not just as a search resource, but as an organization we need to maintain a membership of 15-20 people – striving to maintain a roster of at least 10 certified wilderness airscent dogs.
30 years of experience has taught us to be selective when adding new team members because the work is hard (physically and emotionally). The commitment we make to each trainee and later member is for the long term, in truth this is much like a marriage. There is nothing about this work or how we feel about our organization that is casual. Though the training and searching can be fun and is certainly challenging, each of our team members takes their life saving responsibilities with utmost seriousness – that includes selection of new members.
If you’re seriously interested in learning more about becoming a member of the NEK-9 team, download the following PDF files: