K-9 Team


The KCSO VSAR K-9 Team is made up of  highly trained and certified canines and handlers who volunteer their time and skills during search operations.



All humans, alive or dead, constantly emit microscopic particles bearing human scent. Millions of these are airborne and are carried by the wind for considerable distances. The air scenting SAR dog is trained to locate the scent of any human in a specific search area. The dog is not restricted to the missing person’s track and can search long after the track is obliterated. Many air scenting search dogs are also trained in trailing/scent discrimination.

Search Dog in FieldUpon arrival at the search site, dog handlers work directly for their unit’s operations leader, who reports to the search boss or incident commander of the local agency. Many units provide their own base camp operation, with trained radio operators, SAR dog advisors, and other support personnel.

After initial hasty searches of trails and paths, each dog/handler team is usually assigned a segment of the search area to cover systematically. Handlers work their dogs downwind of the section assigned to them or cover the area in a way that provides dogs with the best scenting coverage. Handlers map the area they have covered and report their POD (probability of detection) to the plans section or operations leader upon completing their assignments.

Search dogs can work in areas where other searchers have been, and they can work with other search resources, such as mantrackers. Using scent articles, they can discriminate for the missing person in heavily populated areas. They can work day or night, in most kinds of weather, and are especially effective where human sight is most limited — in the dark, in dense woods or heavy brush, in debris (as found in earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes) and under water.

Lifeway Church K-9 Demonstration -April 2018

We Have Lost A Tremendous K9 Teammate

A dog sitting in the grass

Description generated with high confidence

It is with great sadness I am sharing the tragic, all too soon, loss of our K-9 teammate McAllister.

He and his wonderful partner Andrea Sawyer were an unbelievable team for his entire life of just under 3 years. 

McAllister died from a sudden medical condition whose cause is not fully understood right now.  In surgery this morning it was discovered he had developed an abdominal cavity abscess that had spread, and he could not be saved.  He passed early this afternoon. (Saturday May 26)  

McAllister earned his National Search Dog Alliance(NSDA) Wilderness Airscent Certification last fall. The two of them are shown here right after they certified.  McAllister obtained his Spokane County Human Remains Detection(HRD) certification this spring.  He was an energetic, extremely well-behaved boy who loved and was dedicated to his partner Andrea.