Mendocino County Search and Rescue K9 and Handler Become Certified by California Rescue Dog Association

The following is a post from the Mendocino County Search and Rescue Facebook page. For full disclosure, I, Matt LaFever, am a member of Mendocino County Search and Rescue and the creator of their social media content:

Mendocino County Search and Rescue (SAR) member John Woods and his 2-year-old yellow lab Carat have been officially certified by the California Rescue Dog Association after passing a grueling test in San Luis Obispo County this last April.

Woods said the test took place over four hours requiring him and Carat to clear 100 acres of wildland. At approximately the three-hour mark, Carat finally latched onto a scent in a dense thicket and located the subject.

The California Rescue Dog Association certification is backed by the California Office of Emergency services allowing Woods and Carat to be deployed across the state. Also, they can represent Mendocino County SAR whenever there is mutual aid requested by nearby counties.

For any Mendocino County resident interested in becoming a part of Search and Rescue’s K9 team, Woods said, “If you have a young dog and it something you have thought about, come on down.” 

Applicants interested in becoming members of the K9 team must complete multiple steps before their K9 can participate in the training. Those steps include applying and being accepted into SAR and then attending three meetings of the K9 team. All these steps are required before you can bring your dog to training. Woods noted that it takes 18-24 months to officially certify a K9 with the California Rescue Dog Association.

In these photographs, Woods and Carat are practicing locating target scents in classrooms of the Redwood Valley School site.

If you are interested in becoming a part of Mendocino County’s Search and Rescue team, go to and complete an application.

Categories: News

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