Pet Search and Rescue Team Initiative

Close to 15 million pets go missing in the U.S. every year.  It is estimated that 1 in 3 pets will go missing over the course of their lifetime.   As a full-time animal rescue volunteer, associated with nonprofit animal welfare organizations in Colorado, the greatest frustration is not being able to quickly find a lost dog or cat due to lack of absolutely critical resources.  When time is of the essence, as it is in these types of search and rescue missions, access to, and immediate deployment of, necessary resources often means the difference between life and death.

The last six lost dog rescue operations in which I participated took place in extremely rugged, remote locations in the San Luis Valley of South Central Colorado.  Though five of those six dogs were eventually located safe (over the course of 3-30 days), one of those dogs, my own cherished dog, Blessing, has not been found.  It is hard to put into words the complete devastation of that reality.

Working in a vast area, in extreme weather and terrain conditions, we attempted to enlist a drone operator and K9 tracker to expedite the search.  Neither resource was available in our region when requested.  Additionally, trail/game cameras, an endoscopic camera (for looking in tight spots under and within structures, and in animal dens, etc.), and feeding station equipment could not be acquired.

Missing pets in the poorest counties in our state (which are also some of the poorest counties in our nation), don't have much of a chance to survive without the assistance of a highly organized, and well-equipped, professional SAR team that is specifically trained for pet rescue.

To that end, I am initiating the creation of a K9 pet tracker team made up of well-trained, well-equipped volunteers who are passionate about the cause of increasing the number of successful pet rescues.  The funds requested in this initial campaign will underwrite the training and FAA certification of a drone operator, the training and certification of a K9 tracker (who will then share that training with other volunteers), the acquisition of high quality drone equipment, and the acquisition of basic SAR kit provisions (as mentioned above).  Funding will also be used to locate, adopt, and train an appropriate rescue dog to be a specialized pet tracker (primarily for dogs and cats).

Thank you in advance for your support.  For the animal-lover, there are few things more painful than losing a beloved four-legged family member.  It is my goal, and commitment, to help others avoid experiencing the despair and torment of losing a pet that could have been saved.


Diana Wenzel
Blanca, CO

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