Rescue Dogs. Rescue People.

Although you’ll seldom see them in comic books, search dogs are the closest thing to real life superheroes. Not only […more…]

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation

Donate now!
(888) 4K9-HERO
(805) 646-1015


Our mission is to strengthen disaster response in America by rescuing and recruiting dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

Over the years, the Search Dog Foundation has paired many canine disaster search teams that serve the Los Angeles area, and we are grateful to have these canines as a resource to call upon when needed for our urban search and rescue team as part of Los Angeles County Fire Department and California Task Force 2. Our task force is only one of two in the nation that deploys internationally, and the search dogs are a vital part of that response. Whether earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, or missing person searches, these highly trained canines are instrumental in completing our search missions, whether close to home or abroad.
“The Search Dog Foundation provides these canines as invaluable assets for our department and task force free of charge, ensuring we stand ready to serve our community when called upon to help.
Travon Espy
Battalion Chief, Los Angeles County Fire Department;
Program Manager, California Task Force 2

Disasters Happen. It’s Not a Matter of If, but When…

To address a critical national need, Wilma Melville founded the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) in 1996 to recruit, rescue, and train shelter dogs to become search dogs, looking for survivors in the wreckage of natural and human-made disasters alongside their first responder handlers.

SDF has proudly served our country and the world for 25 years, with search dogs deployed to more than 200 disasters or missing person searches, including Ground Zero after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and the Nepal earthquake in 2015.

With active teams across the nation, including Los Angeles, SDF continues to evolve and expand its programs. Its ongoing work is to support current search teams and the next generation of search dogs, providing ongoing training and veterinary care for their entire lives. Dogs unable to complete training are career changed or placed in loving homes.

Once rescued, they will never need to be rescued again. And SDF has the support of people like you to thank for that.

Join SDF in supporting these incredible canine heroes and show them we believe in the power of rescued dogs becoming rescuers.

Be Part of the Search today.

Board of Directors

George Leis – Board Chair
President and COO, Montecito Bank & Trust
Dennis Kuykendall – Board Vice Chair
Project Executive, Balfour Beatty Construction
Mike J. Diani – Secretary
President, Diani Building Corp.
Richard Butt
Retired EVP, Executive Creative Director, VMLY&R
Robert Dodge, M.D.
Family Physician, Brent Street Family Practice
Identity Medical Group
Robert Harris
Battalion Chief, Los Angeles County Fire Department
George R. Haynes, Ph.D.
Executive Director/CEO,
National Disaster Search Dog Foundation
Wilma Melville
Founder, National Disaster Search Dog Foundation
Jeff Wenig
Owner/President, Precision Cooling Co., Inc.
Crystal Wyatt
Leadership in Board Governance
and Creative & Sustainable Philanthropy