GARDA, the five letter acronym which stands for the Georgia Rescue Dog Association was founded in 1997. GARDA was created to fill a need for trained search and rescue dogs, in the metro Atlanta area. Canine SAR groups at the time were all based well outside the metro area.
GARDA is a group of highly trained individuals who use dogs of various breeds for Search and Rescue operations. Our dogs are trained in the specialties of human remains detection, area and wilderness search, and trailing search. Each of the members of the GARDA Search and Rescue team has undergone significant training, evaluations and certifications. On average, it takes one to two years for both the dog and handler to become fully trained, tested and certified to participate in search and rescue operations. GARDA testing also requires outside evaluators for mission ready certification. Our dogs have participated in searches in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Michigan and Mississippi and worked for law enforcement ranging from local agencies to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.
Search and rescue is serious business, and not just a fun thing to do with your dog. The work is grueling at times and often unrewarding. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and training to develop the skills necessary to do our job effectively.
Trained K-9 search and rescue groups play a critical role in the location of lost and missing person searches. K-9 teams can locate victims in wilderness and wooded areas where visible searching may be ineffective. Area search dogs can find human scent in hundreds of acres to find lost hikers, and the sick and injured. Trailing dogs can follow where a person has traveled through various types of terrain, allowing police and rescue personnel the ability to retrace the path of a person with a single scent article such as a watch or an article of clothing. Teams can also find victims of drownings and in disaster situations such as tornadoes or floods.
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GARDA Membership Application