Kathleen Kelsey has been involved with Search and Rescue since 2003 as a FEMA Canine Search Specialist with Missouri Task Force One. She is also a K9 handler for McLean County EMA, a regional K9 response team based out of Bloomington, IL. Having graduated from the University of Missouri with an MS in Animal Science and her MBA from Columbia College, Kathleen is the owner of Working Dog Enterprises which coordinates research and education focused on improving the health and performance of detection dogs. Kathleen has certified multiple live find disaster dogs as well as a human remains disaster, wilderness, and water dog. She and her dogs have been deployed to numerous events including Hurricane Katrina and the Joplin, MO tornado. In addition, she serves as a K9 asset for various law enforcement agencies. Kathleen is a FEMA live find Evaluator and Instructor as well as a live and HRD Disaster Evaluator for the National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA) and the Alliance of Emergency Response Instructors and Examiners (AERIE). Kathleen is especially passionate about the advancement of the disaster canine. She is committed to providing quality training and certification for K9 teams and helping ensure superior canine resources are available to communities in their greatest time of need.
Sally grew up with working dogs on a sheep farm in Northern England and was greatly influenced by her father who volunteered for many years with the Mountain Rescue team. After moving to the USA and settling in Northern Ohio in 1997 she joined the local Fire and Rescue department and trained her first search canine working with local agencies and ultimately joining Ohio Task Force 1 as a canine search specialist. Now based out of northern Virginia, she is a career firefighter paramedic with Fairfax County FRD. As a uniformed member of Virginia Task Force 1 her primary specialty is a canine search specialist, with secondary positions as a Rescue specialist and a Technical Search Specialist. Sally is also an operational member and the training officer for Virginia Search and Rescue Dog Association, a wilderness air scent search and rescue team. When not on searches locally or deployment with VATF1 she teaches for various organizations and groups including the Commonwealth of Virginia Search and Rescue program. The science behind animal behavior and the wellbeing of working dogs is a passion for Sally. She is a graduate of the KPA Professional Dog Trainer program, University of Tennessee Certified Canine Fitness Trainer and the University of Washington Animal Behavior program.
“To work a dog well you must know the science, the theory, the training methodology. But you also need to let your hair down and figure out a way to dance in time with the dog. It is a beautiful thing when a team finds their rhythm and masters the dance.”
Eric Darling has been in the Fire/EMS/Search and Rescue community for over 20 years. Currently he is a member of PA TF 1 as a Live Find and Human Remains Canine Search Specialist Handler with his K9 partners Ben and Wyatt. Eric is an Evaluator, Subject Matter Expert and Mentor. He was formerly a member of CA TF 5 prior to moving to PA in 2014. Eric is currently training his newest Live Find Partner Quackenbush aka "The Dude".
Along with being a canine handler, he spends his free time giving back to the community as a Volunteer Chief Engineer for our local fire department and serves on a few boards that support working canines. Eric has a passion and dedication to seeing that working canines get the best training and care possible. He spends a lot of time on the road training with other handlers, so you never know when or where you might see him!
Christy Bormann’s early experience in working with animals involved training and competing in the horse world. For 17 years she learned about everything from Western Pleasure to Dressage. That gave her a solid background in animal training philosophy. She received a BS in Animal Science from Texas A&M University, College Station in 2000.
In 2002 Christy stumbled into the world of canine search and rescue. There she trained her first canine partner in wilderness air scent and then human remains detection and water search. She made it her personal mission to learn about as many different training techniques as possible. She has attended training seminars and schools on methods ranging from clicker training to electronic collar use. She has gone on to train several other partners in wilderness air scent, human remains detection, disaster (live find and HR) and blood trailing (for injured game animals). She and her dogs have been deployed to places like New Orleans, LA (post-Hurricane Katrina); Joplin, MO (post-tornado); Bastrop, TX (post-wildfire); West, TX (post fertilizer plant explosion); Moore, OK (post-tornado) and Wimberly, TX (post-flood).
Christy is a Canine Coordinator and a Canine Search Specialist with an urban search and rescue team based in Texas. She is a FEMA HR Canine Evaluator. She also holds the positions of Operations Chief, Search Manager and Canine Handler with Alamo Area Search and Rescue (www.alamoareasar.org) an all-volunteer search and rescue team based in Helotes, TX.
In 2004, Karen became a certified FEMA US&R Canine Search Specialist for Virginia Task Force 2 based in Virginia Beach, VA. Karen has deployed with VA-TF2 to numerous events including Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
In 2011, Karen became the canine training coordinator for VA-TF2 and is also rostered as a Subject Matter Expert (SME), Adjunct Instructor and a Live Find Lead Evaluator for the FEMA US&R system. She has assisted and instructed several CSST schools, state mock disaster exercises as well as served as a lead instructor for Search Dogs of North America.
Currently, she is the honored but humbled handler of two wonderful FEMA certified canines. Her Live Find K9, “Luke” and her HRD K9, “Maverick” reside with Karen and her husband, Jim, on their family farm in Locust Grove, VA. Karen’s passion and commitment to the search and rescue system is fueled by her desire to work with people and canines. As long as she can remember, she has always assisted her family, neighbors and friends with their dog training, kennel boarding, recovering lost pets and competing in AKC obedience trials. She credits her experience from her many US&R deployments as a blessing to inform, assist and prepare other handlers that will be called upon to save another person’s life trapped in a disaster environment.
As a member of Virginia Task Force One and Virginia Search & Rescue Dog Association, Teresa has responded to numerous missions on a local, State, Federal and International level. These deployments include the OKC bombing of the Murrah building, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike, the Bam, Iran earthquake, the school collapse in Haiti, the Haiti earthquake, the Japan earthquake/tsunami, SuperStorm Sandy, the Oso mudslide, the Nepal earthquakes, as well as responses to call-outs by the FBI, CIA, NCIS and local law enforcement agencies.
Teresa has certified multiple canines in wilderness, water, Human Remains and disaster search. In addition to responding to search missions, Teresa instructs and evaluates on a local, State, Federal and International level. She has instructed and evaluated across the United States and has traveled to Turkey, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Australia to assist in the education and evaluation of their search resources.
Teresa chaired the FEMA Canine Sub-Group for 9 years, which oversees the federal Urban Search & Rescue canine program. She is also a member of the NIMs SAR Working Group as well as several other canine organizations, giving her a broad knowledge base of canine search. She resides in Catlett, VA with her husband, Jack and her four Labradors - Banks, Keys, Bayou and Port.
Tracy became involved with working dogs when she joined a veterinary disaster response team in 2002. She has been federally deployed to several disasters in support of animal health and national special security events where she was tasked to provide tactical medical care to working dogs in the field. She was one of the first veterinary technicians to become board certified in small animal internal medicine in 2008, and is currently a Veterinary Technician Specialist working in the Intensive Care Unit at Ryan Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. She has a special interest in K9 Tactical Emergency Care, sports medicine, and anything involving the health and development of working dogs.
Tracy spends a great deal of time with working dogs. She (and her husband Eric) whelp and raise puppies for the Penn Vet Working Dog Center where she also spends a large portion of her free time providing medical care and rehabilitation services to injured working dogs as part of the Performance Medicine Service. She is especially interested in how fitness and conditioning can help improve performance in working dogs and is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner and K9 Fitness Trainer through the University of Tennessee.
As an artist and photographer, Tracy is responsible for the majority of Superfit Canine's photography, and graphic design.
PJ is a 27-year veteran of the fire service and retired as a Captain from Miami Dade Fire Rescue Department in December 2013. She has been a member of Florida TF-1 since 2004 and continues with the Task Force as a FEMA K-9 Search Specialist and Evaluator, both Live Find and HRD. She also serves as a FEMA Certified Instructor and Mentor. Her education includes a BA degree in IT from FIU and an AS degree in Fire Science from MDCC. PJ has been deployed on numerous missions in a Local, State, Federal and International capacity. PJ continues to develop her passion by attending a variety of workshops and seminars as an Instructor and/or Participant. She currently resides with her husband Michael in Delray Beach, Florida along with her K-9 Partners Chase (Live Find, Retired), Shiloh (HRD) and Bodhi (Live Find). “Train for the passion of the Journey”
Deana Hudgins has been involved in search and rescue as a canine handler since 2001. She is the Executive Director for the Ohio Search and Recovery Canines, Inc. (OSAR K9) and a FEMA Canine Search Specialist for Ohio Task Force One. She has conducted hundreds of searches for local, state and federal agencies. Deana holds canine certifications through NAPWDA in Area Search and Cadaver, NASAR in Area Search, HRD Land, Water and Disaster, and FEMA Live and HRD. She is also a NASAR Canine Lead Evaluator and AERIES Chief Examiner. She has taught HRD land, water and disaster workshops throughout the country. She serves as an instructor for the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy’s Crime Scene Management and Forensic Aspects of Death classes.