K9 Search and Rescue Team needs the community's help to continue their mission of helping to find missing people.
A pancake breakfast fundraiser will be held on Aug. 8 from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. at their "Doghouse" headquarters next to the Dolores Fire Station.
Meet the dedicated, well trained volunteers, tour the facility, and chip in a $5 or more donation for a meal of pancakes, sausage, orange juice and coffee.
"It's our main fundraiser of the year," said response director Chuck Melvin. "We are all volunteers and have an annual budget of $7,000 to cover our costs for responding to rescues."
K9, based in Dolores, is the only independent canine search and rescue organization in the state.
"We do not collect taxes, and do not charge for our rescue efforts," said Vanessa Malloy, administration director. "Our insurance costs went up significantly this year. We barely break even."
This year, the group has been called out on six missions so far using their search dog Quiddity, an energetic 2-year old Dutch shepherd.
They responded to a search for a missing child in McElmo Canyon, who was later found safe at a residence.
In New Mexico ,they responded to a man who went missing while searching for antlers east of Tres Piedres. And recently the team was dispatched to Taos to help find a missing man, who was a former White House chef.
The K9 team can mobilize quickly to a search and rescue location. They set up a communications, plan a strategic search grid, and send out the search dog and handler teams monitored by GPS, computer mapping, and radios.
"We do a whole lot of training," said Vicki Shaffer, base camp operator. "Helping to find the missing is our way to serve."
Quiddity is a certified to search for human remains and live finds. He is being trained to search in water, and will be designated a wilderness search dog.
Volunteers are also trained in search tactics, wilderness first aid, rope rescues, communications, and more.
They also give education talks to schools to teach children what to do when they get lost and how to safely prepare for outdoor activities.
"More of our rescues efforts are for children and those the elderly with Alzheimer's or dementia," Melvin said.
The group is also looking for more volunteers, including those interested in training to become search dog handlers.
"We need volunteers with a passion for helping people to take over the program when people start to retire," Melvin said.
To improve their operations, K9 is looking to purchase a good used motorhome to use for base operations and communications in the field.
Another way to contribute to K9 is to sign up for the Community Rewards program at City Market or Amazon Smiles. The companies donate a percentage of what you spend on shopping to the organization.
For more information on how to donate or volunteer, check out the team's website at http://www.k9team.org, or call (970) 882-4746.