PoL initiatives include our Paws of Life K9 Placement Program, Working K9 Handler Education and K9 Team Coaching. All of these programs are designed to create more highly qualified detection dog teams at the local level.
Specifically search and rescue canine teams are extremely important to law enforcement, emergency management professionals and the families of lost and missing people. Volunteer K9 search and rescue teams can be used to find persons/children in the following instances:
- Lost hunters, hikers, bikers, wilderness recreational enthusiasts
- Drowning victims
- Disoriented elderly persons who wander away from their care facility
- Whenever there is a lost/missing person
Many canine teams are also used to assist law enforcement in the location of clandestine graves for homicide investigations or for predator abductions of children. This takes specific and highly trained K9's and handlers. Many law enforcement agencies can not afford to have these resources on staff full time. They are a highly trained, expensive resource that hopefully the law enforcement agency needs infrequently.
PoL believes that when those resources are needed, they should be experienced, professional volunteers.
First and foremost, we have launched the first online training academy for working canine handlers. The Working K9 Handler Academy is a partnership with Iowa State University and provied professional written theory and science based education for handlers. The training is for the handlers and the information they need to be a better partner for their canine. Being a canine team requires both the dog and the handler to be highly trained.
PoL also provides and supports educational seminars from experts in the search and rescue and K9 learning theory field to local working K9 teams. Our goal is to help subsidize the tuition costs o select seminars for volunteer professional canine handlers.
Seminars can be arranged through Paws of Life for specific instructors.We are still working on developing our roster of instructors. If you would like to be an instructor, recommend one or want to know who is on our list. Please contact us or check our Facebook page to find out what we have scheduled for events.
In any type of organization, finding a good mentor is part of making sure you succeed. One of our key intiatives is to assist K9 teams through a mentoring type of relationship which includes:
- On site team training
- Troubleshooting through phone and email conversations
- Referral to trainers in the area of need
- Development of training plans
- K9 Placement
- Education through reasonablly priced seminars
- Referral to an existing team in the area
If you would like to talk to a PoL Coach, please email Robin.
We work on a demand basis. If you or your agency needs a new K9 partner, we will work with you to find the right temperament and breed. We can't guarantee the breed, but we'll try. Occasionally we have a dog come in that we actively try and place. If you would like to be placed on a list for those occasions, please email us.
Most of the K9's that are in our placement program come from shelters. Canines from reputable breeders are also accepted on a limited basis. In order to be accepted to our program a canine at a minimum must:
- Initially pass the first temperament and drive evaluation
- Be physically sound
- Be friendly and accepting of people
K9's will be placed with approved handlers with no or only basic training, just the temperament and drive testing completed. Most are fully vetted and ready to start work. If you are interested in donating a K9 or applying to receive a K9, please contact us.