Becoming a Member


Becoming a search dog team member and working with an active search and rescue unit is a serious commitment of time and effort. ASARD handlers spend hundreds of hours working with their dogs and training each year. They are responsible for most of their own travel, training and equipment expenses. Involvement with the unit begins with your commitment.

Member title reflects member roles and abilities. New members apply to become support members and can train to develop their skills in order to achieve various member status. Member status are summarized below:

  • Support Member: Membership in the unit begins as a support member. This allows the unit and the new member to become acquainted, and introduces the level of training and commitment required to become an active search dog team. 
  • Field Support Member: This level of membership allows the human to deploy into the field on missions to support an Operational Team. This is an integral part of response.
  • Training Member: Training membership begins once the Field Support member is ready to accept the commitment and training required to continue preparing for operational status. Dogs and handlers must both meet rigorous qualifying standards before they are evaluated for mission-ready status at the end of their training period.
  • Operational Search Dog Team: Successful training teams advance to operational status and become available for emergency call-outs.


If you are interested in joining the ASARD team we encourage you to contact us via email at or through Facebook so we can show you what we are all about! We also encourage you to attend any of our outreach events of monthly meeting, described below. Membership application, as well as ASARD bylaws can be found on our internal resources page!



GENERAL MEETINGS are open to all interested individuals. Meetings are held the first Monday of the month. Arrangements can also be made for prospective handlers to view or take part in unit training sessions (depending upon location and type of training).

COMMUNITY PRESENTATIONS on preventative Search and Rescue education, search dog training and dog capabilities (including live demonstrations) are given by the ASARD handlers regularly and by arrangement.

STATEWIDE SAR TRAINING WORKSHOPS sponsored by ASARD include 2-3 day Winter Response (Avalanche Training) Workshops, Disaster Response and Wilderness Response Workshops.

ASARD is a Member Unit of the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) with headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.